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  • October 1, 2020

Online Poker Dictionary: Shark player

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A ‘shark’ is a very good poker player, one who usually wins. At the poker table, a shark looks for the fishes at the table and eats their chips up.
Unlike poker donkeys they’re not seen as soft targets at the table and are usually the ones who end up with all the chips by the end of the session. Their skillset allows them to dominate weaker opponents to make a living playing poker online or at land-based venues.
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The food chain metaphor is one that is commonly used in the poker community. Players who play well and are higher up the food chain are often referred to as “card sharks,” or simply, “sharks.” You may also hear these players referred to as “card sharps,” or “vacuum cleaners,” or as being “tough,” or “strong.” The weaker players who are closer to the bottom of the food chain are commonly referred to as “fish.” Fish are also known by a variety of disparaging names including “donks,” “donkeys,” “muppets,” “monkeys,” “bozos,” and many others.
Occasionally, you will hear someone who is a really big loser referred to as a “whale.” The term “whale” usually connotes large losses at high limits, and can apply to either the pit or the poker room.
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Many new, inexperienced, or recreational players do not like to play against sharks. There is a good reason for this. If one person is playing at a skill level which is significantly higher than the other players in the game, he can often win a large amount fairly quickly, leaving most everyone else in the game a loser. A shark may refer to a game like this as being a “berry patch.” Weaker players do not want to play against someone who dominates the game and they do not like feeling as if they are being taken advantage of. Many will shy away from a game if they spot a player with a reputation for being a shark. They tend to prefer a “friendly game,” where players are there to have fun playing poker and are not really concerned with extracting maximum profit. When you first sit down in a game, it is not always easy to identify the sharks and the fish. It is a good idea to watch the action, even when you are not involved, so that you can try to get a line on how everyone plays. And keep in mind the old poker truism, if you look around the table and don’t see the fish, it’s probably you.
The bottom line is that if you want to make a profit playing poker, you have to smart about game selection, and you also have to become a shark.
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