Why seat select?
Couple reasons really -
1. If you read any poker books, they will tell you that money tends to move clockwise around the table. The simple reason for this is that you have position on the opponent to your right, so for five hands out of six, you get to see them act first before you have to make a decision. Therefore you want to have a seat to the left of the biggest donaters on the table.
2. The second reason is to play as many hands as possible against the loose/passive players. If you are not near the fish or they are on your left, then you're not going to play as many hands against them as:
a) other aggressive players will raise you out of the hand,
b) the fish will see your raise and act after you giving them the opportunity to fold or
c) you'll be acting first and fold what could have been a decent hand multiway after they limp.
Basically you want them to be limping in, and then you follow with a raise to either isolate / build the pot with your big hands, or overlimp with decent pot odds. If you're playing before them, then they can fold their trash to your raise, rather than feel obliged to call a raise after limping in.
How do you seat select?
Seat selection is fairly simple really. Find the fish, and sit on their left. You want them limping in just in front of you allowing you to raise and potentially isolate as discussed above, or also giving you the opportunity to limp in with more marginal hands that are now priced to play because of a limper in front.
If you can find a fish that is prepared to just limp in the small blind giving you a free look from the big blind, you've almost found the perfect seat.
The player on your left is not quite so much of a concern. Ideally, i'd like a table full of fish, but if not, a tight passive on my left is also quite good. That would let me isolate my fish on my right, and also allow me to regularly steal their blinds. If I have position on a couple fish, I wouldn't even be concerned if the player to my left was quite good.
If I am looking for a really juicy table, i'll want the two players directly on my right to be loose, passive fish. That way I know that i'm playing the most possible hands against the worst possible players.
The theory applies similarly to an overaggressive loose player. It's generally a good idea to have them on your right, which allows you to three bet fairly liberally preflop to isolate, whilst also having position on them on every street post flop. These types of opponents can give you a lot of cash, but I prefer going up against the loose passives as they generally provide for a lower variance session.
How do I do it?
Basically if there's an empty seat on the left of the fish, its a no brainer, I sit down.
If the empty seat is on the right of the only big fish on the table, I won't sit down.
If i'm on a big downswing, i'll often only sit if there are two fish on the right of the empty seat. If i'm running well and playing at lower than my average stakes (say $1/2 or $2/4) I might accept a tight passive on my right, who won't be raising me off hands, if there is a super loose passive fish to their right.
Mostly though, its a matter of finding tables that have several fish, although they are likely full, and adding myself to the waiting list. At the start of my session i'll add myself to a good five to ten table wait lists (generally across two or three sites) which should allow me to find seats on four tables I normally have active simultaneously.
If the seat that comes up from the wait list does not meet the above criteria, I simply decline the seat, and add myself back to the wait list if the table still looks fishy overall.
If i've already got four tables running and a seat comes up, then i'll only sit at down if it has at least two fish to the right of the empty seat.
Once seated, I basically stay there until the fish run out of cash and are replaced by better players. With any luck they'll either be replaced by another fish, or get lucky and suck out on a number of opponents, whilst continuing to donate to me. I am also prepared to get up from my current seat and move to another one on the same table that is empty next to a fish if necessary. I always want to have the most advantage possible.
I think that about covers it ...
Current bankroll: $25,500
April time played: 10.6h
April hands played: 2,333
April profit / (loss): $800