I have always been of the belief that if you want a job doing properly then do it yourself. The fact of the matter is that can you ever really trust someone else to have the same duty of care to your job that you would yourself? We get other people to do jobs for us for two reasons and two reasons only. This is either because we don’t have the ability or skill to do the job ourselves or we cannot be bothered to do it ourselves or maybe don’t have the time. So it is the same with table finding software programs, I do not use them and have never used them.
Now I am not saying that they are not valuable because to the right people then they are more than valuable. They will find profitable games but only profitable games from a general sense. By that I mean by using the basic classifications of basic player metrics and game metrics to define what is broadly seen as a “profitable game”. However I go deeply than this and have my own personal unique way of rating players based on how many weak plays I see them make that are relevant to my own style of play.
So hands per hour and dollars won are loose metrics that don’t really help me or prove to me that my game is good. A table can still be a bad table to sit on even if all of your opponents are not making money. A table full of regs isn’t going to be conclusive to earning loads of money and neither is having half a field of minimum stackers. Because the average edge in opponents is much smaller these days then variance is increased. This means that your edge is thinner and so your earn rate is smaller.
This then knocks on to increased variance and longer losing runs, longer winning runs and longer break even periods. So with that said then it is clear that you cannot use the “dollars won” metric anymore as a reliable indicator. Other less than reliable indicators in games like full ring are VPIP/PFR/AF stats that are commonly touted. This is because of the fact that pre-flop stats are much more uniform in full ring than six max although it is pretty much getting that way in six max now.
Other stats that have less relevance in poker are the “went to showdown” stats. In full ring and even six max then players stats are low in this area as there are not many calling stations around anymore. Good stats to have are the 3/bet stats and cold call stats. If you are cold calling raises too frequently then this may be an area of your game that you need to look at. Even when you have position, you still give your opponent a decent line to take against by using raise-bet-bet.
This line puts an awful lot of pressure onto a call-call floating line because it forces you to put money into the pot with weak holdings. For example let us say that you call a raise from the hijack with the 7c-6c and both blinds fold. The flop comes 10h-6d-3s and your opponent c-bets and you call. The turn card is the Kc and they fire a second barrel and suddenly you are in a difficult spot. If you call then you could be getting value owned. If you raise then you have little equity if you get called. If you fold then you could be folding the best hand.
Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker