How to Deal with Fish

How to Deal with Fish

The vast majority of online poker players are fish - regardless of what they reckon of themselves. This is especially true of games which are supposed to be extra loose and are described as great sources of value by reviewers.

Common sense does indeed say, that in order for a few players to win big, a large number of opponents have to lose, on a reasonably constant basis.

Just how easy is it though to squeeze money out of fish and how should you do it to begin with?

Making the fish pay is a much more frustrating undertaking than you'd believe, but the bottom line is: you have no choice. You won't make money off good players and the majority of value every strategy article is talking about comes from the fish indeed. Finding yourself a nice table full of bad players doesn't automatically mean you'll walk away with cash any time soon. Getting outdrawn time and time again by some hilariously bad calls is not exactly funny when you're the one getting the short end of it, and it will happen to you a lot at such a table. You'd better come prepared, because you won't be able to avoid bad calls and schooling. If you cannot deal with such situations, you'll never make money off online poker though.

Learn to control your emotions, and repeat one of the fundamental theorems of poker every time you feel like tilting: you make money on every good call, regardless of whether you win or lose, and you lose money on every bad one, again: regardless of whether you win or lose.

This is also correct for your opponents as well. If they make the bad call time and time again, be content. That is one of your main goals: to let or to force them to make a mistake preferably on every hand that they play. Whether you win or lose any particular hand is a small technicality.

With the objective set, the next problem to tackle is how to treat these fish to keep them making mistakes. First things first: you need to keep them happy. Even as you suffer an outrageous bad beat, you should congratulate the winner and praise him on his excellent call. Never let him see the error of his ways, and never confront him about the calls that he makes.

Even if he loses, blame it on bad luck. Whenever he wins, congratulate him on his skills.

I know many people get so pissed when they their trips are outdrawn on the river by a gutshot straight despite the numerous raises that they've made to prevent just that from happening, that they'll immediately click on the chat section and start slamming the fish in every which way imaginable.

In online poker, you'll often see people go on about things like pot odds, the number of outs and so on. You should never even mention those concepts to a fish. Let him be happy with what he knows, make him feel comfortable about the game he plays even if it's blatantly obvious he hasn't got a clue.

The last thing you want is to chase him off. A bad call is a bad call regardless of the outcome of the particular hand, and you want your opponents making as many such bad calls as possible.

Respect the guy. Don't just pretend to. He is the person the majority of the money you win is going to come from: naturally, he deserves your respect. If you see another player at your table is tilting and he's taking it out on the rookie, ask him not to. He'll spoil the table, not only for himself but for you too.

If you see someone knows nothing about a basic poker edge (like rakeback), don't go out of your way to enlighten him either. After all, it doesn't say anywhere that everyone should take advantage of rakeback. Some people like to play ball with one hand tied behind their backs. If that's what they like, don't spoil the fun for them. Live and let live.