Whales are an integral part of a flourishing poker ecosystem. These players boost the pot, providing other players with the opportunity for a rewarding payday. Still, what defines a whale and how do they do this? Want to find out? Read on!

What is a Whale 

The arrival of a whale at the poker tables is guaranteed to have a string of effects on the temperature of the room. Most notably, the smiles of every other player at the table will grow immensely. Why, you ask? Well, there are two core characteristics of a whale that makes them friendly poker playmates. The first is their healthy bank balance. The second is their lack of poker prowess. While these players may have fists of cash, they didn’t get it from winnings at the poker table. Whales are recreational players marked by their extreme lack of poker ability - hence why other players are so excited to see them. 

This wasn’t always the case with whales though. Initially, the label was used to refer to significant investors in the financial market. Once it transitioned to poker, it was given to players simply holding extremely high stakes in the game. This, of course, evolved into our modern definition of whales, including their tendency to lose at the tables. Every poker player from sharks to fish will welcome a whale to their table in the hopes that they empty their pockets and fill the pot. 

Their Cash

People with cash rarely keep it a secret - whales are no exception. The first clue that you have stumbled across a whale is by their flash nature. They’ll arrive at the tables with a full stack and they aren’t afraid to spend it. When playing, whales rarely employ strategy. Instead, they use their funds to make a name for themselves. This can appear intimidating at first. However, once you notice that the player isn’t recouping significant wins for their bets, you’ll come to the conclusion to you’re playing against a whale. While by definition whales are not strong players, their formidable bankroll does give them strength. With luck, they can hit a hot streak. Thus, it’s important to take these strengths into account when attempting to part them from their cash. 

Their Playing

Cash is the ultimate decider of success in many arenas but not at the poker tables. Here, you need the skill or even luck to back it up. This is where most whales drown. One thing that makes a whale’s playing weak is their near-compulsion to play every hand. While others may be acting careful with their chip balance, whales bet and raise frequently, regardless of the cards they’re holding. While these bets can come good sometimes, unfortunately, betting in every pot generally results in poor profits for whales overall. 

Whales are a good example of why you should take the time to build solid foundation skills before you get to the tables. While the chips lost mean little to someone with near-unlimited funds, the bigger problem is that they’re not learning from their mistakes. We all take a loss now and then but poker is about challenging yourself to excel. The aim should always be to play your best hand.