The Number #1 Skill That Every Successful Poker Player Must Have

 The Number #1 Skill That Every Successful Poker Player Must Have
Knowing how to separate a fish from his money with maximum efficiency

I talk a lot about the importance of playing with fish.

I also wrote the "guide" on how to find them and get on their left.

Sitting at the right tables will do far more for your winrate than any strategy advice you could possibly learn.

However, I don't want to belabour that point here. But this article will assume that you've found Joe Q. Fish, who of course wants to give you his money.

How do we best accept this gracious offer?

A couple of things:

  • Get on Joe Q's left if you can
  • Try to play as many pots as you can with him i.e., raise his limps with a wide range of reasonably playable hands
  • Don't be afraid to keep hammering on him even if you aren't flopping anything and he is winning all the pots

The last point is probably the most important. Build a dynamic with the fish. Make him think that you are just splashing around loosely and bluffing up a storm. And you small pots.


  • BTN is a 55/10/2 fish

Relevant History

In the hand just previous to this one I had overbet shoved the turn on a fairly wet board (for about double pot). I had an overpair, QQ I think, and he folded.

Poker Stars, $0.01/$0.02 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 9 Players

BB: $0.80
UTG: $2.04
UTG+1: $1.84
UTG+2: $2.88
MP1: $0.53
MP2: $1.50
Hero (CO): $5.55
BTN: $2.50
SB: $2.01

Pre-Flop: T A dealt to Hero (CO)

2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.02, MP1 calls $0.02, MP2 calls $0.02, Hero raises to $0.14, BTN calls $0.14, 2 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.12, MP1 calls $0.12, MP2 folds

Flop: ($0.61) A J 5 (4 Players)

UTG+2 checks, MP1 checks, Hero bets $0.36, BTN calls $0.36, 2 folds

Turn: ($1.33) 6 (2 Players)

Hero bets $5.05 and is All-In, BTN calls $2 and is All-In

River: ($5.33) J (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: $5.33 Pot ($0.26 Rake)

Hero showed T A and WON $5.07 (+$2.57 NET)

BTN showed Q 4 and LOST (-$2.50 NET)

My Thoughts

The thing to always remember with fish is that if you win a big pot off of them (especially when it doesn't go to showdown) they will never give you any credit ever again. Well at least for a few orbits. So the history from the previous hand (as mentioned above) is the key here.

AT offsuit, a bunch of dead money limpers. Raise it up. Really I just wanted to play a pot with Mr. Q though. I probably should have made it a bit more preflop since I know that he is calling 100% and that encourages the others to come along as well. Nevertheless, I got 3 callers and flopped top pair.

I didn't provide any reads on the other two players in the hand. They seemed reasonable and my plan was to simply play the hand straight forward against them. When the fish calls on the flop and the turn comes a safe offsuit 6, I do the exact same thing that I did in the previous hand, which is overbet shove.

I do this because:

  • He isn't likely to have me beat so it absolutely is for value
  • But more importantly, as I stated above, he is going to call me incredibly wide here due to the dynamic. As wide as hands like no pair draws as the results above indicate

If I had bet a normal amount on the turn, I probably still could have gotten stacks in on the river a decent amount of the time, if it was a blank and if he had a pair. That's a lot of ifs. By shoving, I am guaranteed to get all the money in against his entire range, right now.

What kind of strategies or psychology do you use against fish? If you enjoyed this article please "Like" or "Tweet" it below!

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