Being successful at Poker must be viewed as a continual learning curve. In this respect the earlier you get to grips with the different types of poker players you are pitting your skills against the better.
Understand what category your opponent’s fall into
The greater your knowledge of how those around the table play, the more this can be used to your advantage. Conversely, the less you understand their intentions the more difficult it becomes to act with confidence.
Failing to make a connection with your opponent’s style of play will mean that positive moves against some can turn out to be very costly moves against others.
4 main categories of poker players
While there are variations on styles of play we will concentrate on the 4 that are seen to be the main ones.
Players that are seen to constantly raise pre and post flop, and who plays more hands than average are termed as Loose-Aggressive players. They are also not too selective in terms of what their starting hand is.
• Approach to play: Their approach to winning when not holding good cards, or playing a hand that would not generally be deemed as a winning one is common. They counter this by playing aggressively to put pressure on opponents in the hope they will fold.
• Their problem: This type of player will often go broke quickly and should be seen as a pleasure to profit from. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule but the majority are aspiring Tight-Aggressive (see below) players who have not yet made the important transition.
• Your gain: Patience! Get your “tight” head on and wait for choice hands to be dealt to you. Hitting a premium hand will pay dividends. Pass on marginal hands, let the Loose-Aggressive opponents win small pots then steal the big ones with killer hands.
Aka “Fish” or “Calling Stations”! These are seen by the poker community to be very weak players and there is little doubt that over time they will be losing players.
• Approach to play: They play too many hands and stubbornly continue to call bets regardless of the fact they would be better to raise or fold.
• Their problem: Little notice is taken in terms of pot odds. They often call down bets for the sake of it and rely on luck. But, as we all know; the lady is not an ever-present!
• Your gain: Keep your pulse on the pot odds, you will quickly find an advantage against this type of player.
This style of play can be classed as a little too cautious and predictable.
• Approach to play: They know which starting hands to play and when not to and often play strongly pre-flop. Some (but not all) do not protect their hands strongly enough and are more prone to check and call than raise. Having said that, this style of play against inferior opposition will reap rewards.
• Their problem: Tight-Passive players are generally easily read. When they are betting it usually means they have a hand to contend with. It is rare to see them bluff.
• Your gain: Due to a Tight-Passive players excessive caution, chasing players can be presented with the correct odds to hit their draw. It is often noticeably predictable when this type of player has a hand worthy of mention.
In the vast majority of poker circles, this style of play is seen as the most successful.
• Approach to play: Tight-Aggressive players know the strengths of starting hands inside out. They will only play when in the correct table position and with what they see as a suitable hand. When in the pot they play aggressively. They have little fear in betting and raising when the time is right. This style of play puts pressure on their opponents. In short, a Tight-Aggressive player plays when the odds are favourable.
• Their problem: A major disadvantage is that games can drag for this type of player and boredom can set in. This is because they fold on all hands but strong ones. If patience is not one of your strong virtues this style of play will be a challenge.
• Your gain: Caution is the name of the game. You need to match fire with fire and strike with confidence during any lapse of concentration or when the opportunity is presented.
Mix ‘n Match!
Variety is the name of the game! When playing a table, you need advantage. Understanding your oppositions style of play will afford solid benefits.
Basing your strategy on Tight-Aggressive play is considered the way to go, but you would also be wise to mix and match your playing styles. This will work to perplex your opposition and help win even more of those sought-after pots.