Sometimes you get to a poker table and you can sense something is inherently wrong. In much the same way as Father Bear returned from his walk in the story of Goldilocks to discover somebody had been eating his porridge, even though you are in the right place – things around you do not seem to be in order.
The connection between bankroll management and porridge pretty much stops abruptly except, like Father Bear, you need to know what it is that has caused this feeling of unease.
When joining a new table, it is always better to wait until the big blind comes around before participating in the game. Even in multi table tournaments, when you have been transferred to a new table (or there have been a lot of recent changes to yours), sometimes it is best to sit and watch and discover what type of players your adversaries are. This will not only provide little hints about other players´ strengths and weaknesses, but may serve to give you some insight into what is troubling your senses.
Poker players have tendencies which lead them to be categorised as either tight or loose and passive or aggressive. However, signs of these traits can be misleading when players are involved in games that are beneath or beyond the standard at which their bankroll suggests they should be playing.
For example, on a $1.00/$2.00 ring game, you should come to the table with enough for 60 to 80 big binds – say $150.00 from a total bankroll of $600.00. Players coming to the table with $40.00 are going to be apprehensive to get involved in pots of $20.00 – $25.00 unless they have an exceptionally high starting hand. So whereas they may be classified as tight aggressive because they are raising in volume only when they have a premium hand, the truth may be that they are terrified of losing at this level and if they were playing for nickels and dimes, their style of play would be much different.
The opposite may be true for players appearing to be playing particularly loose – either passively or aggressively. If they have come to a table with $150.00, but their poker funds amount to $15.000, their loss of $10.00 here and there is hardly going to dent their bankroll.
A similar principal can be applied to Sit ´n´ Go´s and Multi Table Tournaments where a player may have put his last $20.00 into the tournament and is desperate to hit the bubble, or where a player should be playing at a much higher level and the potential loss of $20.00 is insignificant to him.
Now that you have identified what may have caused your ill-ease when you first sat at the table, how are you going to deal with it? The tight aggressive (or terrified apprehensive) player should be bet into modestly. He will either fold or raise you. By only betting a modest amount, you do not risk losing too much if he raises (in which case fold) and he is going to fold to any bet when he has less than a prime opening hand. The more aggressive player should be treated with caution. You know that he is going to follow your lead with any set of cards, so controlled bet sizing is all important until you know that you have the nuts.
Look out for players not adhering to correct bankroll management and just like Father Bear (who went upstairs and found a young blonde in his bed), you too could have a happy ending!