– The tight player refuses to play anything but premium hands. Now depending on what system they use those premium hands could be different (see why you should learn about many different styles of play.) If the tight player comes in for a raise you should definitely fold unless you have something incredibly good ex. AA, KK, AK suited (maybe). Why do we say maybe to AK suited? Because the tight player most likely has AA or KK and the hand could be costly. tight players will fold to most bets unless they have an incredibly strong hand. Feeler bets (small/medium sized raises to test how strong your hand is) are very useful against a tight player if they are in the hand with you to test the quality of your hand.
You may want to gain a reputation for being a tight player if you are playing something other than 2 4 no fold em hold em (most people will call raises for no reason) because it will allow you to steal blinds quite easily. A great example of this is Dan Harrington in the 2004 World Series of Poker. He raised with weak cards and stole the blinds because everyone thinks Harrington only plays premium hands.
Advantages – Greater % chance of winning the hands you are in, possible bluff factor
Disadvantages – Impossible to play in 2 4 or any other similar no fold em hold em game due to multiple callers. Opponents know what hands you are playing so pots will be small. Blinds will eat you away in tournaments.
Tilt Factor – Very high when outdrawn IF the tight player tilts after losing hands.
Secret to Playing Against – Don’t call when they raise. Raise the blinds from late position if tight player is in small or big blind to either knock them out of the hand or determine the strength of their hand.
– Depending on the skill level and choice of playable cards of the loose player they could be playing anywhere from 52 different hands to all 169 of them. They tend to believe that any two cards can win a pot and will play a game that follows that credo. Putting a loose player on a hand is rather difficult unless you recognize tells or betting patterns. They may catch bottom pair against your two over cards and be in total control of the hand at that point. Raises may or may not phase a loose player depending on their skill level. Some may simply be trying to outdraw you whereas others simply don’t know they’re beat.
You may want to be seen as a loose player to bust out opponents when you finally do catch great cards. The best example we have of this is Gus Hansen in the Poker Superstars event on Fox Sports. He raised every pot so opponents could never put him on a hand. When he had great cards opponents would go all in against him and he’d bust them out. Also loose players may be able to put their opponents on tilt, causing them to throw away hands that typically they would play.
Advantages – Opponents have difficulty putting you on a hand. Opponents will change the size of their bets due to fear of what you may have flopped.
Disadvantages – May flop 2 pair but its low 2 pair. Or your flush is weak. May be costly playing a lot of flops.
Tilt Factor – Losing a large pot may turn a loose player into a tight player.
Secret to Playing Against – Play your regular game. When you hit an ace high flush or top 2 pair or 3 of a kind or whatever the nuts happen to be try to extract as many chips as possible from them. Avoid playing their loose game if you typically don’t play loose.
Calling Station – The name says it all, they call every bet. You can’t bluff a calling station because they refuse to fold for some reason. You may think having a calling station at the table is good, but think again. Raising with premium hands against a calling station can be costly if you don’t hit anything (ex. You raise with AK suited and don’t get an ace, a king, a straight draw or even your suit on the flop so you bet again. The calling station may have made a low pair and is no unfortunately ahead in the hand). The best way to deal with calling stations is raise large enough to knock out other potential threats at the table then if you don’t hit your hand make either small bets or simply check to avoid throwing away mounds of chips to the calling station. Phil Hellmuth has said on his video that calling stations cannot win tournaments but I disagree. Look at Colin Quinn on Celebrity Poker Showdown. He ended up winning his heat to make it to the finals. The best way to beat a calling station is to wait until you make a flush or straight or even two pair then keep betting large so you can steal their entire stack.
You may wish to be viewed as a calling station in some games to gain mounds of chips from unsuspecting opponents. If they label you as a calling station they may bet away their entire stack to you when they have nothing better than middle pair and have labeled you as an idiot so they don’t believe you to be a threat.
Advantages – You win a pot that other players would have folded on the flop or the turn. Bluffers will throw away chips to you.
Disadvantages – Major loss of chips when you lose a pot.
Tilt Factor – Low. A calling station by nature simply calls all your bets so win or lose a pot they don’t really change much.
Secret To Playing Against – Don’t bluff. Don’t bet unless you have at least a pair. Avoid large raises that could be costly if you do not hit your hand.
Passive player – The passive player may be playing properly but is easily bullied out of pots, similar to the tight player. Unlike the tight player, the passive player will play more hands, possibly top 42 or 51 or even their own creation of playable hands. Lack of aggression and fear of other players having a better hand creates a passive player. The passive player usually has most of the basic knowledge of how to play poker well ,however, he/she simply can’t pull the trigger with a great hand. Passive players can win pots, don’t get us wrong, but the pots will usually not be as large as they would have been if the player was more committed to his hands and gut feeling. As with the tight player you can determine the strength of a passive player’s hand with a feeler bet. Keep in mind that the passive player will be incredibly difficult to trap due to the simple fact that they know how to play cards they just don’t know how to bet large. Passive players will most likely call rather than raise when they have a great hand and you may be able to outdraw them even if they flop a straight or flush. (Ex. One of our editors was playing a game where his opponent flopped a flush. The opponent was a passive player so he checked the flop. Our editor had 2 pair. Turn card left him with the same 2 pair and the passive player bet small. The editor called and rivered a full house. The passive player then made a large bet to try and cash in on the flopped flush and lost the hand.)
You may wish to be viewed as a passive player if you wish to set your opponents up for huge losses later in the game. If they view you as passive then they will most likely bet large against you in the future to try and scare you off hands in which you can reraise them and take their stacks. Also playing as a passive player will keep you in chips until a winning hand does come around being that you never put too many chips at risk in any previous hands.
Advantages – Smaller losses. Raises may be respected.
Disadvantages – Smaller gains or loss of pots that you would have otherwise won. Raises may be disrespected and you will be reraised.
Tilt Factor – A few large losses may send a passive player on a 180 tilt causing them to play overaggressive or loose.
Secret To Playing Against – Avoid setting traps. If you flop top pair with a weak kicker and the passive player bet try reraising to test his commitment to the hand. Avoid calling the passive player without at least middle pair (that you are trying to outdraw for trips. Yes that is a gamble, if you don’t want to gamble then reraise and see what happens).
Aggressive Player – The aggressive player loves to bet at hands. Pre flop, flop, turn or river the aggressive player loves to bet. If he/she thinks their hand is best then there will be a bet. Aggressive players also like to bluff. They know that their aggressive nature can scare off opponents if they throw out large bets so they may bet with 72 off suit or something of the sort. There are two things to consider when playing against an aggressive player. The first is the skill level of the aggressive player. If you are up against an aggressive player who doesn’t know how to play cards well (or is an insecure individual and is trying to act big) then you’ll have a better chance of beating the aggressive player when you catch a good flop or finally get AA or KK. If the aggressive player is a skilled poker player, however, he will be much more difficult to beat when you catch a good flop or great hole cards. The second thing to consider with the aggressive player is how tight or loose have they been playing. A tight aggressive player has been playing great cards the majority of the time a raise has been placed (we say majority because if there isn’t a bluff here or there then the tight aggressive player will be easy to figure out and is simply a tight aggressive player). A loose aggressive player, however, could be and most likely is raising with any two cards they like. The loose aggressive player will be harder to put on a hand but may be easier to bust out of the game when you have the cards.
You may want to be seen as an aggressive player to steal small pots and build up your chip stack. Another reason to play aggressively is to tilt your opponents into dropping their chip stacks to you when you have a great hand because they simply see you as an opponent who raises with nothing.
Advantages – Intimidation factor. Gain of large pots in won hands. Bluff factor.
Disadvantages – Large fluxuations in chip stack. Players may call your bluffs based on the fact that you’re aggressive.
Tilt Factor – Large losses may turn the aggressive player into a tight player. Or his raises and attacks on pots will increase to recoup losses.
Secret to Playing Against – Play your game. Don’t start calling with garbage just because you want to beat the aggressive player. By simply playing your winning game you can take the chips from the aggressive player when he starts trying to bet you out of a pot with his middle pair against your top pair trips.
‘Professional’ Player – We’re not referring to a real professional poker player here. The chances of running across a REAL pro in a home game or low stakes tournament/table game is very small. The ‘professional’ tries to play his game the way he believes a professional would play. The ‘professional’ has most likely read a book or two and will play the game the way they were told. (Again, read books so you can identify the professional’s style. Your opponent may play like Hellmuth, Sklansky, Hansen, or whoever their favorite is). Professional’s may tilt if you beat them with cards that they never read about playing in their book. They may also not be playing for the fun of the game but rather the money giving them another excuse to tilt if they lose a big pot.
You may want to be viewed as a ‘professional’ so opponents fear you. (Or laugh at you behind your back if you constantly lose yet think you play like so and so.) Being able to talk the talk may give you an advantage over your opponents but a good ‘professional’ will be able to walk the walk as well.
Advantages – Players view you as educated.
Disadvantages – Players view you as a ‘poser’ or otherwise doubt your ‘street cred.’
Tilt Factor – Very high if you beat them with cards they read you should never play with. Revenge tilt may take place.
Secret to Playing Against – Trust your gut. Play your game and avoid getting into mind games with them over what cards you should have or have not called with. And also learn as much as you can about their favorite player so you can match their play to their favorite’s play and work up a game plan from there.
Casual Player – This player is simply playing for fun or to get together with friends. The skill level will vary and some casual players may be incredibly difficult to play against due to their feeling of ‘its only x amount of dollars.’ Winning and losing are usually not the concern of a casual player but rather they are there simply to have a good time and good conversation.
You may want to be viewed as a casual player to put your opponents at ease. If they think you are playing just for the fun of it you may be able to pick up chips from people who don’t view you as a player but rather someone who was dragged along just to hang out.
Advantages – It’s all fun and games, win or lose.
Disadvantages – No one will fear you or take you seriously. (This may also be an advantage depending on how you look at it) Tilt Factor – Incredibly low.
Secret To Playing Against – Remember the casual player may not know too much about the game. A large raise with AK suited to knock out opponents may not get rid of a casual player holding A3 off suit simply because they don’t know any better. Or because they don’t care about losing.
Flop Master – The term was first coined by Daniel Negraneu during a WPT event. It refers to players who like to see the flop then depending on whether or not the flop helped their hand they’ll bet, call or fold.
You may want to play as a flop master if you have lots of chips to spare and can play flops well.
Advantages – The ‘any 2 cards can win’ theory is put into play and you know whether or not you woulda/coulda/shoulda won the pot or at least have a much better idea.
Disadvantages – This can get very costly if you want to see EVERY flop.
Tilt Factor – Very low considering its being employed by someone who simply wants to see a flop then go from there.
Secret to Playing Against – Raise preflop if you have a good hand to avoid having a flop master who simply ‘limps in’ catch a lucky break against you.
Fisherman – No one has ever coined this phrase to the best of our knowledge. It refers to a new breed of player who call all the way to the river then fold regardless of how large the pot is. The player is doing exactly what the title refers to, fishing. They may be on a flush or straight draw or simply have ace high and are trying to bust out whoever flopped jack or 10 high. Their betting pattern will look something along the lines of this : PF- call; Flop – check, call; Turn – check,call; River – fold. If you act before them there won’t be the check part. If they made their hand there will be a bet or raise somewhere.
You may want to be a fisherman if you have lots of chips to risk and don’t think your opponent will fold if you reraise.
Advantages – You risk less chips than you would otherwise by reraising on the flop and having your opponent reraise you.
Disadvantages – You are NEVER in control of the hand and can only win if your opponent is bluffing or if you catch your magic card to make the hand.
Tilt Factor – If they never make their hands then it could be very high.
Secret to Playing Against – Make it costly for them to try and outdraw you AND never stop betting. Some of us, before identifying this player type, would bet the flop and the turn then check the river out of fear even though there was no straight or flush draw. Keep betting against fishermen unless they bet or raise (or if you act before them a flush or straight shows up.)
Loudmouth – Loves to hear the sound of their voice. The loudmouth is trying to tilt opponents. A huge loss may cause a loudmouth to stop talking, or double the jibber jabber.
You may want to be a loudmouth to throw opponents off their game. Some players may not be able to concentrate with you talking and this will cause them to make mistakes. Or you’re constant insults may cause an opponent to go on ‘revenge tilt’ meaning they will take risks simply to bust you out of the game.
Advantages – Your talking may tilt opponents.
Disadvantages – You may give up information about your hand.
Tilt Factor – If they shut up then they’re on tilt. Or they’ll talk more.
Secret to Playing Against – Act like you are ignoring them when secretly you are listening for tells in their voice as to how strong/weak their hand is.
The Silent Type – Like the name says, silent. They’re hard to rattle being that there is a conversation going on in their own head.
You may want to be the silent type to confuse opponents. If you aren’t talking or showing your cards they can never put you on a hand making you an enigma at the table.
Advantages – Opponents won’t know what to think of you. You won’t give up any verbal tells.
Disadvantages – You can’t enjoy conversation with other players at the table. Tilt Factor – Their game may change or you may get them to speak.
Secret To Playing Against – There is no secret. Just play your game.
Statistics Player – These players tend to know the numbers for all their outs. They love pot odds and implied odds. Statistics players will usually play according to charts that tell them what hands will and will not win a percentage of the time. (Again its a good reason to read a lot of books and know the charts so when you run across a statistics player you have a better chance of putting them on a hand.) Statistics players are difficult to play if you want to win large pots yet bet beyond the pot odds and implied odds of them catching a winning card. That is also a double-edged sword however. You can pick up pots from statistics players by completely over betting a pot to take away their pot odds and force them not to make a call.
You may want to be viewed as a statistics player if you wish to put your opponents on edge due to your vast poker knowledge. Good players tend to respect statistics players because they know all the numbers and can come off as ‘great poker players.’ Intimidation is a key to winning pots in poker. Also being a statistics player will keep your losses smaller as you have already precalculated potential losses from every hand you take part in.
Advantages – Fear factor from opponents. You know what to invest in and what not too.
Disadvantages – Potential lost hands that didn’t fit in with the percentages. Opponents may get lucky on a 5% shot to win at the river. Opponents may start throwing out bets solely to destroy pot odds.
Tilt Factor – Depends on how bad the beat was. A 5% miracle card can get almost anyone on tilt.
Secret to Playing Against – Try to keep pots outside of the pot odds range for their calls on draws. However, this may backfire as the implied odds are now greater.
Opponents Player – This is a poker player who can shift gears based on how his/her opponents are playing. They can adjust to every style of play and will be focused less of charts and numbers and more on how everyone else is playing. To be this kind of player you must first be able to recognize the different types of player and the best ways to neutralize each specific style. This is what we refer to as a Level 2 (or possibly 3) Player.
Your opponents will never view you as this style of player. They will have you labeled as something else. Being able to shift gears to beat each opponent is the key. This is honestly the cream of the crop when it comes to types of players. If you play your game according to how your opponents are playing then you hold the advantage.
Advantages – You can change your game to beat anyone. Disadvantages – N/A
Tilt Factor – Depends on the person. If disciplined there should be no tilt factor.
Secret To Playing Against – Play your game and hope their game isn’t better than your own.