“If you can’t spot the sucker (fish) within the first hour at the table, then you are the sucker”, the old poker adage from the popular movie Rounders. Fish is an unskilled player, who plays extremely loosely and yet passively. Fish is vulnerable to lose a lot of money due to bad play moves and poor decisions. Fish and chips bond well together until it comes to the poker table, where they separate ways swiftly.
Calling mode- The fish plays loose, calling and calling regardless of their starting hand. Your opponent is most likely a fish if he seems to be calling a high percentage of hands pre-flop. This is a perfect example of unskilled players where they are calling pre-flop with weak hands. These players are often known as calling stations, as they call no matter what they are holding.
Betting pattern- A perfect example is when a player bets the flop, checks the turn and bets out at the river in the hope of winning the pot. This is the best way to identify the fish- by his/her betting patterns. They do so as they know they are beat, so they beat aggressively to force other players out of the pot. Almost everyone is now aware of this play, but some players still try this.
Too passive or too aggressive- Does your opponent call down way too often and can’t fold top pair? Who is too passive? Look around to find these answers. It is really important to balance your game and use all your options, whether it’s raise, bet, call or check. The moment you polarize your play, you risk losing your money and the balanced player is all set to hunt you down.
Position- Identify player who doesn't use the button to bet and steal the blinds. Does your opponent consistently limp under the gun and then call a raise to check and fold to any bet on the flop? You can also watch out for any player who insists on pushing all-in every other hand, when the blinds are relatively low as they don't want to play after the flop since it involves far more skills.
Limping- If nothing works, this will indeed work, whether you are playing a live poker tournament or online. Every player who is aware of basic poker strategy knows that you must always enter the pot by raising and not calling the big blind, especially in big bet games like Pot limit or Texas Hold’em. It is an option in very few situations, but if somebody opens under the gun with a call in a Hold’em, he is certainly a fish.
Observation is really important in any poker game and can make a difference between winning and losing a game. Just pay attention to what’s happening at your table and you should be perfectly fine. So look around and tell us, have you spotted any sucker yet?