I keep meaning to create a series of blogs for Single Table Tournaments but the subject is so complicated that every time I sit down and start typing my head gets pickled on how to do it. There's just too many variables compounded by players, blinds, clock and structures that I'm unsure if I'll ever get around to it.

One certain aspect of playing in a STT but also most relevent in cash is table selection.

I've said before we win money at poker not by our own brilliance but by the mistakes of others. We don't want to play good players. That's why the tagging of players is so important. I use a colour code system on Stars. I've recently revamped it

As you can see, everyone gets a tag when I first join a table. Everyone get a Yellow tag to tell me that I've played this player before. Sometimes players get KO'd early and I've no further info on them, I can keep an eye on them the next time I play them.

Most of the rest of the colours are based on Stats I have in Holdem Manager but I would also be able to tag them just by watching how they play. A Whale for example usually has a 40%+ VPiP and a PFR over 10% while a Loose Passive will have 40%+ VPiP and a PFR of less than 10%.

Loose Passive/ Aggressives and Tight Passives/ Aggressives are a certain breed of player I've noticed that are non aggressive pre flop but over aggressive post flop. Loose Passives like to see a lot of flops and then bet any part of the flop imcluding gutshots, draws and even Ace high. Tight Passives are the opposite, they have a tight starting range but rarely raise it. This includes monsters but after the flop they want to take the hand down on every ocassion.

All of these types are exploitable for very different reasons and they are my bread and butter in a STT.

The most dangerous player is the Red. They are Tight Aggressives. They have a tight starting range early in a STT but can change gears according to blinds, player type and players in a STT. They have a decent knowledge of a STT structure and how to play the game and they will make your life a misery as their hard to play against.

These players are not the ones where your winnings will come from and too many in a STT will make the game unprofitable as you will be vying with them for the top spots. This is why table selection is so important. You really want to be playing in games with very few reds and loads of blues and cyans. It's the Blue colours that should be your bread and butter. Chase the bad players and avoid the good.

BUT HOW CAN YOU TELL IF A PLAYER IS GOOD IF YOU'VE NEVER PLAYED THEM BEFORE?

I normally just jump into a STT without any thought about players but when I move up levels then table selection is far more important. There are a number of things you can do however to make this job easier.

SIT AND WATCH THE LOBBY FOR A BIT

The Red players usually multi table but usually not in vast numbers. I can quite easily play 8-10 tables at a time but I struggle with my A game above this number. Watch out for players who are playing 2-12 tables and tag them and take a note of how many tables their playing and at what stakes.

Just because they multi table doesn't necessarily mean their good but it's usually an indication their break even or better as if they play losing poker while multi tabling they'll go broke a lot quicker.

THE MULTI TABLING ROCK SHOVETARD

A certain type of multi tabler is an exception. These players are usually Magenta in colour and they are an easy player to play against.. They usually play 10+ tables and play in a monotone way. They sit tight and wait on a monster and then shove all in. Because they've so many tables going they've no time to think and this method of playing usually helps them to break even and play for the VPPs. I love playing against them, their blinds are easy to steal and when they shove it's an easy fold.

SIT AND WATCH PLAYERS PLAYING

The next method is to just sit and watch them play for a bit. Work out what hands they play and in what position. This is time consuming but if your balance is low then you really want as much information as possible on opponents. Then when you do sit down beside them you have that edge that they won't have over you.

USE TRACKING SITES LIKE SHARKSCOPE

You have to opt into Sharkscope for your stats to be tracked on Pokerstars but tracking sites like Sharkscope can provide valuable information on whether a player is a winner or not. Take a note on their stats, their ROI and profit and also date this information. In 2 months time you can then do the search again and see how their progressing.

USE THE STAR STATUS AS A TELL

This is a great indication of a player but I high star status does not equate to a good player. Good players usually multi table so if a Gold Stars sits in a $1.50 STT and plays just one table then it tells me they've probably played far higher stakes and went virtually bust. Many players play well above their means as they think the game is simple. Use this tell to spot poor players.

USE THE MOBILE TELL

Again another subtle tell but if someone has the mobile device to their name then it means their playing on their tablet or phone without a HUD and are a recreational player.

Although these tells aren't set in stone they are good indicators.

KEEP UPDATING YOUR NOTES AND COLOUR CODES

Many player do play the same throughout but some players will throw you. A 0% PFR will chuck in a QJo raise from UTG (first to act) and if they do so then take a note on it. Someone may have a 10%+ PFR and just be on a heater with good cards. Keep updating those notes and change the colour if it requires.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

You want to pick games with very few reds especially if the game only pays a few places. In a 9 man STT with 3 payouts I'd only want 1 red at most in the game as he will be one of the contenders for the top 3 spots. Chase those Blue players and Magenta Regs.

It really means a lot on Table Selection. Get the right tables and your profits will rocket, choose the wrong ones and they will nosedive.

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Torrid start to the year.

I said in my last Blog I was jumping into $3.50 STTs without the bankroll. I know I can beat this level, I've been their before and I'm playing $11 STTs on another site. Things however didn't go as planned. Things started OK but my last handful of games have went badly. I can put a lot of it down to variance and the number of 3rds in 6 Max is really hurting me. If I shove AQs they alays have AK or they flop a set against my AA and the number of flips AT CRITICAL TIMES  is unreal. I can't control the luck but I have also made many mistakes. All I can do is iron them out but in the mean time I'm going to have to drop back to $1.50 STTs and rebuild.

I'm confident I can do this but it also means me playing a lot more elsewhere. If I can beat $11 STTs on another site then it doesn't make much sense playing $1.50 on here. The only difference is a game starts every minute on Stars while elsewhere a $11 STT can take up to an hour to fill at certain times. If I want to play higher stakes then I'll have to come back here eventually.

I'm way off my VPP target. I've only 323 this year so far but VPPs are the last thing I'm worried about if I'm playing losing poker.

Guess I'll have to start and practice what I preach on Table Selection and get that ROI in the positive again.

I've a $11 MTT ticket to use up but I don't like the structure of the Sunday Storm. I think I'll use it for the BIG $11 $60k GTD.

This time next week Rodney I'll be a Millionairre.

Until next time, good luck at the tables.