Getting moved to a different table while playing in a poker tournament is a common occurrence. However, it can be tricky for some players, as everyone has to adjust when someone gets moved, even the players already at the new table. Poker is a game in which constant adjustments are required. I’ll show you an example of a recent tournament I was in to give you an idea of how to make these crucial adjustments.
I was playing in a 45 player no limit Texas Holdem tournament with starting stacks of 1500. As usual, I played a tight game early on, waiting for good hands with which to pick up some nice pots. I picked up a couple of big hands and was soon the dominant force at my starting table. We had an occasional newcomer at our table as players were slowly eliminated, but I was able to keep the pressure on the rest of the table, with my chip stack growing to near 4500. In fact, the only flaw in my dominance came when an opponent hit a miracle card on the river to pull off a split pot instead of being eliminated.
For some reason, I still haven’t determined why, this made the rest of the table bolder and challenge me more often. This didn’t last long, however, so I was able to reassert my dominance over the table. Then something horrible happened. The table was broken down and I was moved to another table. I was third in chips at the time, but I was at the same table as the number one and number two chip stacks.
Moving Tables Means Making Adjustments
It was now time for me to start making adjustments. I had a lot of chips relative to the blinds, so at my previous table I was seeing a lot of flops, knowing that I could force others out, and eliminate smaller stacks if I hit a big hand. At this new table, with a couple of larger stacks, I wanted to always be considered dangerous, so I had to tighten up my game. I was not going to be able to get away with my loose tactics in this situation, which is why I began folding, to build up a tight table image. After folding for a round and a half, I picked up my first pot of the new table on a steal. It was at this point that I began opening my game back up again, as the blinds were still not of any consequence when compared to my chip stack and I had created a tight image for myself.
The best way to handle being moved to a new table is to size up the competition. This means take a quick look at the size of the chip stacks and how tight or loose the table is. In the above situation, there were stacks that were both looser and larger than mine. This meant I had to tread cautiously and make them believe I always had good hands. If I had been moved to a table that had all smaller stacks, I may have chosen to act like a maniac early. This would serve to annoy the rest of the table and make them loosen up, allowing me to duck back into a tight mindset and wait for a big hand to take down a huge pot. With a maniac image, this could prove to be very profitable.
As I’ve repeatedly said, poker is all about making adjustments. When moving to a new table you need to choose an image to present to the players. Most often, acting like a very tight player is best, as your opponents will give you credit for having hands, allowing you to steal some nice pots when toe opportunity presents itself. There are situations, such as the maniac example, where it may not be best to have a tight image.
So when being moved to a new table, it is a necessity to size up the table quickly. Learn who has more chips than you, who has less chips than you, and the basic tendencies of the opposing players if you can. This will help you form a plan of attack to deal with the new table you find yourself at.