Whether you are new to live poker or a veteran of the game,
one thing you’ll inevitably notice is that there are a handful
of different types of players. Online play tends to create many
varied playing styles, and it will be difficult to pick up on
them through play online alone. When you are playing in a brick
and mortar casino, however, you are going to develop a better
feel for the types of opponents that you are running into over
and over again.
The aim of this article is to outline the
various types of common live poker players. In addition to
pinpointing their standard characteristics, it will also
elaborate on how to play against them for maximum profitability.
Maybe you have been told that stereotypes are bad, and perhaps
that is true, but in poker they can be very valuable when it
comes to your bottom line.
The different types of live poker players include
wild/aggressive/loose/calling stations, the super tight player,
and the conservative (generally good) player. Needless to say,
there are virtually infinite types of players out there, but the
purpose of this article is to categorize them into groups. When
you start playing, chances are that you’ll be able to identify
any given player as belonging to one of these particular sets.
It shouldn’t take long to recognize how someone is playing, and
you’ll be able to utilize this information in an attempt to
counter their strategies as effectively as possible.
This is the broadest category of live poker players. It
essentially encompasses all of the bad players. These are the
types of people who you really want in your game. Yea, they are
going to cost you a lot of money from time to time, but in the
end you’ll benefit greatly from their presence. You may notice
that some players seem to “transform” as the day or night goes
on. This will usually be a product of tilt, frustration, or even
alcohol. Even if a player wouldn’t normally fall into this
category of players, you’ll need to adapt if they do start to
play much more recklessly.
The loose players are who you should be getting involved in
pots with, albeit carefully. You want to get into hands as
cheaply as possible so that you can have a chance at hitting the
flop and winning a sizable pot. The key is to reduce your risk
as much as possible. Since these players tend to despise
folding, you are going to need to rely on making a hand more
than anything else. There are few mistakes in poker that are
worse than trying to bluff out someone who rarely folds. Place
strong value bets and play very straightforward, because this is about all that’s
needed to crush these loose players.
Super tight players are those people who only seem to play
aces and kings. They might even fold AK to an open raise if they
weren’t feeling it. These players are going to be the easiest to
spot because you’ll notice that they are seldom involved in
any pots. When they do get involved, however, you should watch
your guard. Chances are that a super tight player has a very
strong hand if they are deciding to play. To their credit, these
types of players tend to have very strong discipline. They
aren’t prone to getting bored and stepping out of line. They are
happy to simply fold their way through the night, time and time
again. They aren’t usually going to win a lot of money, but
they don’t tend to lose a lot either. This doesn’t mean that
they can’t be beat though.
Beating very tight opponents is different
than beating loose or aggressive opponents. Where you’ll want
to actually play in a lot of post-flop situations with someone
who tends to mess around a lot, tight players are best defeated
pre-flop. It’s much more of a slow extraction process with
tight players, whereas you’ll be winning (or losing) sizable
pots in rapid succession against looser players. The tighter
your opponent, the less you are likely to win in one lump sum.
You are going to need to start making raises pre-flop. You
should continuation bet flops where you were called, and so on
and so forth. While it might seem like a good idea to 3-bet a
tight opponent, or even to fire a double barrel, this isn’t
always the case. As backwards as it might sound, these tight
players will sometimes end up transforming into calling
stations. You can be tight and still be totally blind to the
relative value of a hand. Tight players are notorious for
falling in love with big pocket pairs once they finally get
Now, this isn’t going to be the case with all tight
players by any means, but it certainly is not all that rare. You
should be able to tell whether a tight player turns into a
calling station after just a few orbits. If they are capable of
folding, see what kind of moves do and don’t work. The less
information that you have on a specific player, the more
carefully you should be playing.
These are the most common type of players in online poker
(good), but they also happen to be an extreme rarity in the live
scene. Sure, a lot of players have self-anointed themselves as
good at poker, but this doesn’t mean that it’s true. Never will
you see more players who kid themselves than when you are in a
poker room. Of course, this is what makes the games as
profitable as they are. Truly good players, however, are going
to wreak havoc on your win rate. You should avoid them as much
as possible, but there are going to be inevitable confrontations
along the way.
Unless you are a good player yourself, it might be a
challenge to analyze someone’s skills. In fact, if you are a
weak player, you might totally misjudge a good player as below
average. Tight and loose play is generally apparent to anyone,
whereas “good” play is much more subjective. The way to beat
good players is to quite simply be better than them. Since they
are going to be aware of most of the tactics you would
reasonably hope to implement, you can’t pull things out of your
hat that they won’t be able to react to. Unless you are
confident in your ability to beat strong, winning players, you
should steer clear whenever possible.
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