Most of this post applies to the mid/high stakes games where there are generally few games running and the games that do run are predicated around a recreational player.
Some of this may sound trivial but I always try to look at things in terms of big bets or dollars. Most people spend a lot of time working on their actual game but overlook things like this. To me this is no different than learning a new profitable line or plugging a leak in your preflop game. They both will increase earn over time.
Here are a few tips:
-Make sure the lobby is clearly visible while you're playing.
It's extremely important at mid/high stakes to get into a new game quickly. Most of the time a recreational player sits and the table fills within a minute, sometimes a matter of a few seconds. And within a few minutes the waiting list is often several players deep. Some of these players lose at a clip of 5 BB/100 or more and to miss out on the table, particularly when other games aren't running, is costly.
In my setup I have a sliver of the PokerStars main screen showing on my monitor. It shows just enough of the screen that I can see the tables and # of players at each. I have this placed on my main monitor to the right of the tables I'm playing so I can easily see it without having to turn my head. I've made it a habit to look over any time I have a break in the action.
-Click sit out next big blind when a player the game is built around often leaves the game after only playing an orbit or two.
Pretty self explanatory. When a recreational player leaves the table in the mid/high stakes games, everyone instantly clicks sit out next big blind. It's an unfortunate reality but to avoid being the one who pays their big blind, you're forced to follow suit. I've found players that table hop constantly playing an orbit or two and with these types its important to anticipate them sitting out when seated immediately after them.
-Always check to see who's on the waiting list after you before refusing a table.
Sometimes you'll be offered a seat at a table where the recreational player has left and all good players are sitting out. Before refusing the seat, check to see who is on the waiting list after you. Sometimes a recreational player is waiting and often one of the good players will leave assuming the game has broken, the recreational player will sit, and the game resumes.
-If at capacity in terms of tables and a table becomes available that you don't want to sit at, immediately get back on the waiting list.
Pretty self-explanatory again but in the mid/high stakes environment there generally are a limited amount of games and the ones that do run can break at any moment. So it's important to always be on the waiting lists of all full tables no matter how many you're playing at.
-Do not use the auto-seat option.
Poker Stars did an update a few months back and this was auto-checked for everyone so it would automatically seat you at a table. Sometimes more than one seat will open at a table and there's always more value in having a choice where to sit. You can uncheck this under Options/Advanced Multi-Tabling Options
-Always check to see how much money the recreational players have at your tables before refusing to join another table that you've been waiting on.
Sometimes the recreational player the game's built upon will be shortstacked. If this is the case, it's best to accept the new table and sit out in case the player busts and the game breaks.
-Get on the waiting lists of tables fifteen to thirty minutes before you intend to start playing.
Part of my morning routine involves getting on the waiting lists of games soon after I wake up. Rather than sitting idly waiting to get in game, I can make coffee, read emails, etc. while I'm on the waiting list.