One of the most familiar laments new players make is that if they only played against better players, they wouldn't get sucked out on so much.
Correspondingly, if they didn't get sucked out on by bad players so much, they'd be able to make more money.
This is pretty flawed thinking. And the flaw in this thinking should be fairly obvious.
Bad poker players make a lot of mistakes; and mistakes in poker equal money.
Your Money in Poker Comes From Bad Players
When you're playing poker you're hoping to make money. But where does this "money" come from?
From your opponent making mistakes - i.e. he calls too much before the flop, draws without getting the required odds, bluffs too often, etc.
These are all blunders that directly equate to more money for you.
Conversely, of course, if you screw up less often on average than your opponents, you are also going to be making money and soon become a very rich man or woman.
What's a Fish Thinking? Who Cares?
- "Good players are easier to read; you never know what a fish is thinking"
This is another one you hear all the time. If the players are really all that good, then you really shouldn't be able to read them anyway - but that discussion is for another day.
Although you might be able to understand a good player's thinking with greater ease than you can read a fish's thoughts, that really doesn't matter.
Fish are going to make errors so often that you really don't need to "get into their minds." Instead, just wait for the nuts and value bet the crap out of them.
Players who just call all the time are the easiest in the world to beat
The adage is true: you can't get blood from a stone.
When you play versus a competent opponent, things aren't quite that easy. They are only going to put money in when they think they have an edge.
Thus, you need to read them because you need to know how they are playing against you.
The old adage is true: it's impossible to get blood from a stone. So why would you wish to play against a bunch of stones?
Remember, the more mistakes your opponents make the more money you are going to make.
While fish may win pots in the short term with various bonehead plays, in the long run those same bonehead plays are going to be what make them losing players.
Don't worry about the short term; yes, playing with more bad players may increase your variance. But ultimately those are the most profitable games you can play in.
More beginner strategy articles from Dan Skolovy: