Poker Articles

Is It Bad Karma to Hunt Fish Poker Players?


Fish. Swimming the big open seas of poker, waiting to be caught…wait, what? If you thought that fish only belonged in the ocean, then you haven’t played enough poker. Or maybe you’re currently a fish right now and you want to move up to being a shark. There’s nothing wrong with a fish phase, as we were all once newcomers to the great world of poker. However, that’s not what this guide tackles, actually. We want to explore the classic question: is it bad karma to hunt fish poker players?

If you aren’t a fish, you know the type — they make wild, swinging bets only to come up with nothing of importance during the showdown. You can take their chips very easily because you take the time to learn strategy, while most fish only see that they have a little paint in their hand and a fat stack of chips to start with — so why not put everything on the line. All in, dealer!

Whoa. We’re a little critical of fish players, and we apologize. For every fish that dreams about learning good strategy and proper form in the world of poker, there are five others around him or her that just want to make fast money and become the next Gus Hansen. In order to become that good, you’re going to have to make poker your life for a little while, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that at all. You have to make sure that you really think about the strategy of poker through everything you do. If that means that you sit and obsessively analyze all of your previous hands, then that’s what you need to do.

But again, this guide isn’t about breaking out of the fish barrel, it’s seeing about what you can do in terms of taking advantage of the fish barrel. More specifically, we’re asking whether or not it’s right to hunt players that really play that badly.

Sure, you can hang out in the lower stakes games where a lot of fish tend to congregate. Because they’re just starting out, they don’t want to run through their bankrolls too quickly. They’re nervous about losing money — after all, the old saying is that fear of loss is higher than the promise of gain. You can indeed run a good psychological game against fish players, but should you really walk down that road?

In a word, yes — let’s face it, poker isn’t a fair game all the time when it comes to the battlefield of the mind. You will still need to make tough decisions and choices along the way that are going to leave you frustrated. You’re going to have to make choices that are going to be a little shady — but very, very profitable.

Think about it from this perspective — if you’re not taking the money from fish players, someone else is. In the world of poker, whoever has the bigger bankroll can afford to set up longer plays and thus collect more money. Those that have larger bankrolls can practice their game a bit more than people that don’t. Finally, people with larger bankrolls can simply play more — and who doesn’t want to play as much poker as they possible can?

It makes sense to go after fish players if they’re going to swim in the same waters as you are. If you want to play the lower limit games in order to build up your bankroll against weaker players, you can do that. However, as you move up the ladder you’re going to run into less fish and more competition. Of course, there are bonus hunters from other gambling pools that jump into poker looking to make “fast money” — they can be pretty “fishy” and make silly poker calls. Since the World Series of Poker is televised and a lot of people watch it around the world, a lot of people feel that they can go out and make money in poker. When you think about it, it makes sense — why would you want to work at a 9 to 5 job when you can become a poker player and make a hell of a lot more money?

We may never have a real answer to the question, but if you really ask us, we think that it’s perfectly okay to play against fish and take their chips. However, a word of caution — today’s fish might be tomorrow’s sharks, so make sure that you keep a tight strategy — good luck out there!