The Fish: How To Raise Your Game
Top Tips From Professional Poker Players
Expert Poker Player: Dominik Nitsche
Short player description:
Able to switch to different styles swiftly and when necessary
Global Poker Index 2015 Rank #16
Player of the Year Rank 2015 #12
Live Best Cash $654,797
All Time Money $5,164,231
All Time Money List Current Rank 133
Online Ranking #930
Popularity Rank 56
Twitter Followers 7,781

First and foremost, the Fish has to recognise who they are. Often, you’re going to be the least experienced player around the home poker table. Turning that into an asset and using it to your advantage - that’s the key to holding your own, according to top player Dominik Nitsche.

How To Dominate The Home Poker Table

So, how do you hold your own when you’re up against it? German Poker champion Dominik Nitsche has been a rising star of online poker since 2006, and has won more than $5.6 million throughout his career. He knows how to make the most of a raw deal, and get your share of the winnings, regardless of your prior experience.

“The first tip has to be: play tight” he advises, “Don't enter the pot with hands that are tough to play. In order to make ‘postflop’ play a bit more simple I would also suggest you buy in as short as possible. It will make your decision a lot easier.”

For enthusiastic beginners, dominating the game may prove a challenge too far - but it’s definitely possible to play a big role and take the opportunities when they arise. Other players, caught up in their own competitions with rivals and ego, will make mistakes - and this is where the Fish can jump up the food chain and snatch a win.

As Dominic suggests, “Look for situations to take advantage of players who play too many hands. Force them to put in a big percentage of stacks preflop. You will win because you are playing a more solid range!”.

By being a master of observation and a model of restraint, the Fish can still make a difference.

The Fish: Understanding Poker Psychology

Of course, fundamental to becoming that master of observation, is identifying the different characters at the home poker table. Playing against Rocks can be simple - their playing style is stubborn and overt. When you notice someone playing very tight, Dominik advises that you try and steal their big blind. “That said, I wouldn't go too overboard with this approach. Your judgement might be a little off due to a small sample size.” But if you can identify such behaviour over the long term, it can be worth the gamble.

Dominik advises greater caution when dealing with Sharks. “They have more experience and know exactly the kind of strategy you are employing” he warns, “Even if you make the game simple, they will have an edge.” This shouldn’t worry you too much, though - your home game profits won’t come from outfoxing the predators in the pack. Be patient, watchful and look to take your chances with strong hands when they are dealt.

Top Tips To Raise Your Game

  1. Look at how successful players play. None of them are rocks. The flexibility of being a fresh-faced fish is a strength to be exploited.
  2. Embracing a flexible approach doesn’t mean random bluffing. Your cards and position are key to making good decisions - bluffing for the sake of it will win you nothing at all.
  3. Keep in mind that just because the hands you see on TV are usually big coolers, real poker doesn't work quite like that. Professional poker does an excellent job of messing with your mind. People don't have Aces nearly as often - so if you can master the basics, you stand a solid chance of success.

Learn more about the different personas at the home poker table - explore the guide and discover expert tips for raising your game.