The term mark in a poker context refers to the weak player at the table. Winning poker players will deliberately go out of their way to play pots against the mark since playing vs weak opposition is more profitable in poker.
The term mark is not used especially often in a poker context. The term is not exclusive to poker and stems from the idea of a marksman who can expertly hit certain targets or marks.
In this guide we’ll learn the following -
How Can We Identify the ‘Mark’ at a Poker Table?
In Hold’em look out for players who limp preflop instead of raising first in. Look for strange non-standard bet sizings and hands that don’t make any sense at showdown. In online games players who don’t auto-rebuy after dropping below 100bb are often soft targets. In general most ‘marks’ will be getting involved in too many pots with too many weak hands.
How Do We Know if We Are the ‘Mark’ at a Poker Table?
There is an old saying in poker that if we can’t spot the mark at the table then we are probably the mark. If we are not able to pinpoint any obvious mistakes in our opponents’ games there is a good chance that we are the weak player at the table, especially if we seem to be slowly losing in the long run.
Can There Be More Than One ‘Mark’ At the Poker Table?
The idea of there only being one ‘mark’ at the table is something that originates with tough high stakes games where there is very often only one weak player at the table that the game forms around. If the weak player leaves, the game dries up almost instantly. In truth, most games are nowhere near this tough and there are often several weak players or ‘marks’ at any given table.
How Can We Increase Our Profits vs the ‘Mark’ in Poker?
The main objective is simply to get into as many pots as possible against the weaker player/s at the table. Because weak players make many mistakes on the later betting rounds we can usually enter the pot with a much wider range of hands than would ordinarily be theoretically correct. If we stick to our standard starting hands we won’t be maximizing our chances of making money vs the mark.
The term mark is really just another term for ‘recreational player’. It describes a weak opponent at the table who we can reasonably expect to profit against. Although many players may understand what we mean when using the term mark, the word is not commonly used in high level (advanced) discussions about poker.