Types of Poker Players
In this guide to types of poker players we will help you to find the best poker game for you, with the right poker player type. Player’s skill level is one of the deciding factors that determine how profitable you will be in a poker game, one of the most important advices you will get playing poker is always to choose the right poker game!
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Since you’re reading our crash course on Hold’em, in this poker school, you’re probably a beginner but will already have a considerable advantage over the casual poker player type who won’t put in an effort to read a poker guide like this one. Texas Holdem rules are easy to learn, and that makes it a very popular game world-wide, making millions of people believe that knowing the rules is enough to play. This type of players are the ideal opponents, Hold’em has such a strategic depth that you can’t just learn the game by playing.
Apart from playing lots of hands, to fully appreciate and understand the game, you also need to study and analyze the game away from the tables. For some extremely talented people it all comes naturally, but there’s very few of those in this world.
Poker Player Types
The only way to decide if a game is suited for you, when you find poker games with unknown opponent poker player types, is to sit in and play. You may want to play at several game tables simultaneously, as many as you can keep track of, and then start eliminating tables that are not so promising and keep the ones with weak opponent players. At micro-limits, pretty much any table will do.
A couple of characteristics typical of a weak opponent player type: Limp a lot, rarely raises, and loves to see the flop (plays every hand), plays passively postflop, and usually calls on every street, sometimes all the way to the betting on the river. Even if an opponent player does none of these, he might still be a bad player, but recognizing and exploiting less obvious strategic mistakes requires an advanced level of poker theory and experience.
For a start, finding weak opponent player types in a poker game on micro-limit with the tendencies I just mentioned should not be difficult.
Basic Player Types in Poker
Let me guide you through the basic player types in poker:
First of all, there are the loose-passive types. We’re constantly looking for these opponent players, and stay at any table where we find one as long as they stay. They usually have all the typical characteristics of a weak poker player. They play a lot of hands, usually don’t raise before the flop, and remain passive all through the hand, leaving it to us to control the pot and the way the hand goes. If you don’t raise, they don’t raise either; if you raise, you can count on them to call (classic case of the recreational-player, who wouldn’t ever want to miss out on seeing the flop with whatever hand he’s got). It follows that you should never try to bluff this opponent type, just wait for the right moment when you’ve got a good hand and let them pay you off! Against loose-passive opponent players, you might want to play a bit looser yourself, because even when you have a weak starting hand, you can see the turn and river cheaply or for free, and if you make a strong hand, you will have a very good chance to win a huge pot. You don’t have to play completely useless hands, just add a couple of weak ones that you would normally fold. Playing against this opponent type is pretty simple: bet, bet, bet. When they raise, you are usually beat, so you would better fold most of the time. Loose passive player types play almost every single hand in a game, so you can expect them to show up with basically any two cards.
Then there are the tight-passive types. You will win a lot less from them, even if most of them are also weak players. They tend to underestimate the strength of their hands and play them too cautiously even when they obviously have a winner. This approach makes their play a lot less profitable then it could be, but that also means that they won’t go broke easily. To win a big pot against a player of this type you will need a round where you both have very strong hands, but you got him beat (a cooler in your favor). Tight-passive players play very few hands and play them passively, especially postflop. They don’t raise just to generate action, and always remain honest and predictable. The good news is that they’re also pretty simple to beat, but with a different strategy than the one we used against the loose-passive type. You will have to aim at winning a lot of small pots against them, constantly raising and betting no matter what cards you have, because they always fold unless they have a hand. It will take a lot of time and patience to gradually win their chips.
The third opponent player type’s style is the one you should be aiming to learn as a beginner, and that’s the strategy we’re focusing on in this crash course. It’s called the tight-aggressive game. It means a deliberately tight choice of starting hands (see the “Starting Hands” chapter) followed by aggressive preflop and postflop play. It is the general strategy that helps a beginner makes the fewest mistakes while maximizing profit against the right opponents. My crash course, in this online pokerschool, is a good starting point you can build on to learn how to use this strategy well. Read on carefully!
Finally, the fourth opponent player type is the loose-aggressive type. Playing in this style might also be profitable, even at higher stakes. The bad news is that it’s easy to misplay it, so it can be pretty dangerous. It’s relatively hard to make mistakes playing tight-aggressive, and that makes it rather predictable, but playing at micro stakes that doesn’t really matter because very few of your opponents will learn and exploit you’re playing style. Some players can and will turn your tight strategy against you, especially at higher limits. You might even find a couple of these tricky opponents at micro stakes (although not very often). The advantage of playing loose-aggressively is that it’s less predictable than playing tight, and your big hands will be paid off more often. However, playing more hands also means facing a lot more difficult decisions, so it’s much tougher to keep winning. Inexperienced and/or weak players have no counter-strategy against loose-aggressive play, so it can be very effective when played well. Building on the basics in this poker guide, you can develop a loose-aggressive strategy, although it takes a lot more practice than the tight-aggressive style.
Adjust to Any Player Type in Poker
The ability to adjust to any player type in poker is crucial, and will make you a winner in poker games. In general, you should play looser at a tight table and win as many small pots as you can.
At loose tables you’re better off playing a bit tighter than normal, except when your loose opponents are passive as well, because in that case you would miss out on a lot of opportunities to win big pots by folding too many hands.
Playing against a lot of loose-aggressive players it’s best to tighten up your game, without making it too obvious that you are waiting for hands.
Always try to react to what’s going on at the table in the game. Players come and go, the number of people changes, someone goes on tilt, and another one tightens up. These are many things you should be aware of and be ready to respond to. You’ll have to call lighter in pots with someone on tilt, attack the player who just became more cautious, steal with a higher frequency at short-handed tables etc.
- Those who limp are typically of the curious type. Raising usually won’t scare them off.
- If possible, always raise in position when a curious player limps before you. All flops that don’t improve their hands are good for you!
- Learn to tell the difference between an aggressive player and a maniac!
- Never try to trap weak opponent players with the winning hand! Bet, bet, bet!
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Good luck at the poker tables!
Team Chocolate Poker