While playing poker, you are bound to come across different types of players with varying skill levels. Gaining an edge over your opponents can lead to success in a challenging poker game. One of the smartest ways to do that is spotting poker fishes on the table.
Poker fish is a technical term used to describe a weak or an inexperienced player on the poker table but is also considered rude and derogatory. A fish may be a recreational or an inexperienced player who is targeted by skilled and professional players to win pots. Therefore, playing multiple hands with a fish is the best way to win pots, but you should also be mindful of when to stop. You should try expanding your preflop ranges against the weaker players, without going overboard.
How to spot a Poker Fish?
How do you identify the fishes on your poker table? There’s a good chance of identifying a poker fish on a low stake table as you may find many recreational and inexperienced players. Identifying the fish on your table and exploiting their lack of skills can prove to be beneficial for you and increase your winning chances. So, here are several ways of identifying the fishes on your table and play against them.
Perhaps the most common way of spotting a fish in live or online poker is through the limping poker tell. The basic strategy that all experienced poker players use is entering the pot by raising rather than calling the big blind, especially in games such as Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Texas Holdem. There may be a few instances where limping is the only option, however, entering the pot with a call preflop clearly indicates that the player is unaware of this basic strategy and is basically as fish.
Now that you are aware of this trick, you too should avoid pre-flop open-limping. You wouldn’t want other players to consider you as the weaker player and play pots against you.
Read this to estimate winning hands in Omaha and Holdem.
Playing 40% or more of their hands
Poker fishes are known to play 40% or more of their hands which makes it easy to identify them on the table. You may not find any player limping as every player is avoiding playing passively preflop. In such a situation, you should observe the number of hands being played by your opponents. In online poker, players usually have the ability to play multi-tables. You can check your HUD and find out how many hands your opponents are playing. So, a player with 60 or 70 VPIP will signal several red flags and is usually the fish you are looking for. Once you spot someone playing 40% or more of their hands, make sure to take a note and spot them in the future.
Not raising often
The fishes in poker don’t raise very often and overall passive in the game. You will find these players limping into the pot most of the time and calling after the flop. For instance, if you check your HUD and spot a player with a preflop raise (PFR) of 8% and VPIP of 40% or more, you have identified a fish. However, sometimes you may find the stats to be VPIP of 40% and PFR of 30%. In this case, you need a different strategy to beat the fish. The poker fish players may either be passive or aggressive, and you need to identify this before using a particular strategy against them.
Making huge fundamental mistakes
You may find some players making huge fundamental mistakes during different hands. This is a common trait of both passive and aggressive poker fishes. The fundamental mistakes that they make are calling instead of folding or checking instead of betting. The fish also have psychology to think of a big bet as a bluff. Therefore, if you have a big hand, it’s advisable to bet big and give the fish a reason to call.
Weaker and inexperienced players don’t prefer playing further after the flop, as they require more skills to play. Such players insist on going all-in on every hand when the blinds are relatively lower, be it pre-flop or otherwise. If you spot a player going all-in, you have found a fish and you can exploit the fish to your advantage.
Identifying and playing against the fishes is a strategy that can lead to success in a poker game. When you identify the fishes, steer clear of trying to bluff them as they love calling with anything which might lead to a loss for you. Fishes are often unaware of the basic rules and their play is erratic and inconsistent. There is no specified way of acting in a certain way of playing certain hands while playing poker online. What will help you is studying the fishes and acting accordingly. Now that you have learned a few tricks of identifying the fishes on your table, go ahead and beat the fish in your next poker game on MPL.