It is understood that constant practice and experience will always improve your chances of winning at the poker tables; however, one important and often overlooked strategy to help improve your chances of winning is to play against weaker players or what are called the “fish”. Fish are players who basically suck at poker or who do not play using a winning strategy, often playing the wrong limits, using poor bankroll management and overestimating the cards in their hand which leads them to overplay the worst cards.
In the long run, if a poker player plays according to proven methods and practices as well as proper bankroll management, he should come up ahead over the players who have no game plan.
In online poker, a world where you cannot see your opponents face to face, all you have to go on to size them up is an often carefully crafted screen name, sometimes a funny avatar and if you are lucky to have watched them play a little bit against other players, that can help as well. But what about the country where they are from? Naturally, that can say a lot about a player. It would be wrong and foolish to assess someone’s overall playing abilities simply by what country they are from but every little bit of information helps and such stereotyping can help you to identify the weaker players or players possessing certain traits.
Some online sites display the player country but beware, sometimes people lie about their country and some softwares permit this.
Of course there are some players in each country that rise above the rest, but generally the worst players are known to come from Southern Europe: Italy, Greece, Turkey and to a slightly lesser degree Spain and France.
Let’s focus on the Italians for a moment. When you think of an Italian, you can sense that with everything in life, they live by their emotions. This is also very true in their general poker playing – Italian Poker Players often play by their emotions. When they are winning, they get more brave, which leads to mistakes. When they are losing, they tilt and let their emotions control their actions, again leading to mistakes.
Now the question is – Where do you find Italian Poker Players online?
Since Italy introduced local gaming regulations about two years ago, the majority of networks catering to Italian players are ring fenced, which means that only Italians can play against other Italians. However, there are a couple of other Malta licensed networks that have a very high concentration of Italian poker players. If you register to Bluff Gaming and Piranha Poker, you will notice a fair amount of Italian poker players.
Not to take anything away from Italian players, two of the top players in the world are Luca Pagano and high stakes cash player Dario Minieri who are PokerStars Pros and have won a lot of money against non-Italian players. Again, there is always exceptions to every general rule! Just keep in mind that when you take all of your strategies into consideration, it helps to consider the mindset of an Italian Player. Its also good to note that Bluff Gaming and Piranha Poker are known to be extremely fishy networks. Considering the fact that they hold a lot of Italian Players, its hard to deny that this is one of the reasons.
France is another country with ring fenced poker and Spain will be introducing it also, making it difficult to find these players on the traditional networks, but not impossible. Online poker is illegal in Turkey and it is difficult to find a high concentration of players on any one poker network.
Poker is becoming increasingly popular in Asia. We see more players online playing from China and they are fairly new to the game so all in all, they are not good.
The Best Poker Players
Many of the top players are coming from the Scandinavian countries of Denmark and Sweden. There are many poker clubs in those countries relative to their population. In Denmark, a study done 2 years ago estimated that there were more than 250,000 poker players in the country of 5.5 Million. Their overall style is to play a very aggressive and strategized game of poker.
North America has a lot of good players; however it is good to note that Canadians are generally known to be more conservative than most. Use this to your advantage as a Canadian by maybe starting your game at a new table conservatively and then changing things up to your regular strategy!
Tournament versus Cash
Players from Eastern Europe play as if their life is on the line. The average monthly salary in Eastern European countries ranges from $200 to $700 a month. Many Eastern Europeans have discovered that if they play conservatively for several hours a day, they can in fact earn more from poker than from an ordinary job, especially if you factor in bonus and rakeback incentives. What does this mean for you? It means when you sit down against low to mid stakes players from those countries in a cash game or in a tournament, the play style is to grinding away and only take calculated risks so you may not see too much bluffing at higher stakes tables.
Some of the best players started off building their bankrolls with money won on freerolls. Poker is a game of patience, and if you don’t have a lot of it our best advice is – don’t get started!