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Poker Fish - Are You One Yourself?

Aug 22, 2007
In poker, the term fish basically refers to poor players, and can describe those players who consistently lose money and have a poor overall grasp of the game, as well as those players who may simply be new to the game and are still learning the ropes.

In truth, we've all been a poker fish at some stage of our poker career, so it's nothing to be ashamed of, particularly when you first start playing the game. Very few players pick up the game and start consistently winning money straight away, but the key is to come through the initial learning stage, learn from your mistakes, and develop your game over time as you gain more experience.

If, however, you have been playing for several years and still find yourself regularly losing money, then the harsh reality is that you're probably a fish yourself, and the type of player who the poker pros love to come up against because you're an easy target. The truth is you should probably consider either giving up the game, or reading various poker books, furthering your education, and trying to bring your game up to scratch.

Assuming you're a decent player, how do you identify which of your opponents are fish, and therefore there for the taking?

Well firstly look at how often your opponents are playing their hands. If you find a player who loves to be involved in nearly every pot, and plays more hands than he should, then you should be able to win money off of them just by sitting tight and waiting for premium hands.

Another sign of a poker fish is if they have a tendency to show their hands to the rest of the table when not required to, and regularly make comments using the chat facility. The stronger players will generally just sit quietly and completely focus on the game, and not distract themselves or give players unnecessary information about their hands.

Also look out for players who get frustrated and use the chat facility to vent their anger or criticise other players. These players are more likely to go on tilt and again will be easy pickings if you sit tight and wait for good hands.

What else should you be looking out for?

Well if a player is seemingly taking forever to decide what to do when it's their turn to act, then this is a tell-tale sign of a newbie, and therefore you should be able to use your greater experience to win money from them by playing a solid game.

Also, look at every single hand, even those you're not a part of, and watch for weak moves and hopeful calls by your opponents, and make a note of this for future reference.

And finally, as the old saying goes, if you still can't decide who the fish are at your table, then it's probably you.
About the Author
James Woolley is a regular poker player and the author of a poker blog which is a complete guide to internet poker, and contains the very latest poker tips and strategies to help you become a better poker player.
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