I am a huge believer in having a great image at the table. I have talked in past articles about how your hourly might be as much as two or three times higher than average with an outstanding image and you may be a break even or losing player with a horrible image.
Image is not defined by looseness or tightness in live play it is a function of winning or losing. It is amazing how many people will stay out of your way when you are running “hot.” Subconsciously players will give you respect and you will be able to get away with winning a lot of pots without actually having it. On the flip side if your opponents have been noticing that you have been losing they will have a target on you. They will call you down with super marginal hands because they think that you are “unlucky.” In these spots you have to really tighten up and value bet other players to death.
Knowing this information it is obviously a very good thing for us to start off our session with a winning image. One of the ways that I try to do this is to avoid taking big risks early on and trying to not get myself into marginal spots. I think that it is hard to play a session when you immediately start off from a hole. We are not robots and especially if you have any sort of tilt factor it lays poor groundwork for a good session.
Now some people would say that if you win in these marginal spots you will instantly have a great image. This is partially true but if we are winning players and the table is good we can definitely find spots that may be less variant and more positive EV. Now do not misunderstand me I will take marginal edges in big pots if I am even slightly positive EV. However, I think the times to take those risks are later on in our sessions when we are more “into the groove”.