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Why do some online poker players fish?
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Why do some online poker players fish?

Date Published: 1st February 2020
Author: Dana Andrew

Unless you are playing at virtual money tables, I always assume nobody wants to either play like a fish or be labeled as one. So I think the question is still valid ... Why do some people stink when playing online poker? First, let's quickly define what it means when we refer to someone as a poker fish.

Poker Fish

What Is an Online Poker “Fish”?

Without spending much time on this using technical words seeking to decorate an answer that, in nature, is simple. An online poker fish is basically the “sucker” at the table. The person also known as “donkey” that is just not very good at poker. “Fish” it's just a derogatory word used by arrogant players in a way to insult other players that are making basic mistakes at the table without even realizing most of their profits will come from them.

New Player = Fish?

NO! Just because you're a new player it doesn't make you a fish! You have no idea how many experienced players I have labeled as fish. If you saw my notes and all labels I have on guys playing $20 and $50 tournaments you will surely laugh. Even good, solid and winning regulars can at times have some “fishiness” moments. Again, an online poker fish is someone making terrible mistakes at the table on a regular bases.

Fish Poker

How Not To Become a Poker Fish?

Just stop making basic and fundamental mistakes at the table. It's really that simple. Keep an eye for the following…

  • Calling too much – Especially from the blinds and out of position.
  • Fancy Play Syndrome – This is when you have a monster hand and try to “beautify” a hand by mimicking something you saw in a high stake poker episode.
  • Playing very vulnerable and marginal hands from EP – This is the case with small pocket pairs, low Ax hands and middle-low suited connectors with gappers.
  • Not knowing when to fold – This is perhaps one of the most costly mistakes I see bad players do, taking so many marginal hands to showdown
  • Lack of awareness – I see this more and more at the tables. Bad players just aren't able to spot great opportunities to take down the pot even if it hits them in the face.
  • Playing to loose or to tight – It's common to see bad players to both extremes. They either play too loose or too tight. This is where the terms NIT and Maniac were born to identify and labeled these type of bad players.
  • Standard lines – They play a very basic strategy very easy to exploit by more experienced players. 
  • Play based on emotions – They couldn't care less about the math of the game. Pot odds, equity, EV, ranges, are just all BS to them.
  • Lack of adjustability – Since they play a very basic and exploitable style of play, they just don´t adjust properly to some of the most common postflop situations in poker.
  • Not value betting enough – This is a direct consequence of applying the fancy play syndrome I briefly touch above. They rather play a monster hand slowly rather than extracting as much value as possible from it.
  • Get scared easily – One of the best strategies against most of these bad players (unless we´re facing a calling station), it´s to bluff them a lot. This is particularly very effective on the river. When they're chasing draws or trying to hold-up a medium strength hand, they will usually just give-up when facing a strong river bet.

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