Are you a Poker Fish?

I wrote this article in December 2006. I hope it gives you a some food for thought to make sure you are not a poker fish. And instead of being one, you can take a few tips on how to identify and beat a poker fish.

I guess we all know that in poker a new or particularly poor player is, er, fondly known as a fish. You don’t want to be a fish – you want to spot the poker fish and fleece them of all their chips. But how do you know if YOU are the fish? Well, there are a few signs to look out for.

The first one being that if you can’t spot the fish at the tables, then YOU are the fish. So be careful. Just how do you spot the poker fish.

A poker fish is often a calling station – a player who limps in to far too many hands with practically and two cards and then hopes to get lucky on the flop. If they don’t get lucky on the flop, they will generally fold to almost any bet.

A poker fish loves to show his cards after winning a hand. After winning any hand. Take careful notice of the cards they show – it’s vital information which you can use against the fish. A poker fish likes to use the chat facility to type rubbish like nice hand, well played or other general chatter. If they are typing, they can’t be concentrating too hard on playing poker.

A poker fish is often blinded by an ace if dealt one. They’ll think they just can’t lose if the have an ace in their hand. And even more so if another appears on the flop. Watch their ace-rag get eaten up by another players (hopefully yours) AQ.

If you are doing any of the above, then you are the fish my friend. So, how do you beat a fish

Don’t bluff them. A poker fish may just call your massive raise in the hope that they’ll make that miracle gutshot straight and then go and make it. Sometimes of course they will hit that miracle gutshot or backdoor flush draw. That’s just poker my friend. Nothing you can do about it. When this happens try to keep calm on not go in tilt.

Get them on the hook and play them. You’ve hit your trips on the flop, your fishy friend has nothing and the board shows no straight, flush or other hand that may beat yours developing. Bet out and let your friend call you – milk more chips off them on the turn and river.

When you do take a huge pile of chips off your new best friend at the tables, make them feel a bit better about it – quickly type UL in to the chat box. They’ll think you mean it and love you for it.

When the fish bite back – muck your cards and wait for another opportunity. One pretty certain sign that the fish has a real hand is when they bet big. If they come back in over the top of you then you may feel more than reasonably certain they are holding a serious hand.

And when you do spot the fish keep notes on that player. Then next time you come across them you’ll know who to target, what their style is and how to combat it. Keeping player notes applies to any opponent at the poker table, not just the fish.

I played in a single table sit and go just last night and there was one fish in particular at the table who was easy to spot as they met the above two characteristics often limping in and always showing cards. This fish actually did quite well to get in to the money with myself and another player. I knew that if I got heads-up against the fish I’d win the tournament – and I did. How? By constantly applying pressure and forcing my fishy friend to fold. It was almost too easy.

Don’t be the fish. Beat the fish.