In-Depth Poker Player Types and how to play them
January 8, 2009
In the game of poker, especially Texas Hold ‘em, there are four main classes of players, generally speaking. By knowing what these classes are, the characteristics of players in these classes, and their strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to plug your opponents into whatever class they belong, and adjust your game to beat them. Your opposition can’t win if you already know their next move. Know your opponents, and adjust accordingly. In this guide we will outline the four main classes of poker players, give you their strengths and weaknesses, tell you what you can expect, and tell you how you can adjust your game to beat them.
Tight – Passive
Players that fall into this category will win many games because of the simple fact that there are so many bad players in the poker world today. That being said, for an experienced player, though, this type of player can often be the best to play against. Basically, they’re the cheap skates of the poker world. They’re the kind of people that enjoy gambling, without the gambling part.
Tight – passive players, as their name suggests, are very tight with their money. Very rarely will you see a tight – passive player bet, or even call, with a weak hand. Even more rarely than that will you see a tight – passive player bluff. It’s just not how they play. If they’re going to bet, they’re going to bet big – and have the cards to back it up. These facts alone, however, make this type of player very easy to recognize. When you’re playing with a tight – passive player, you’ll know it. Furthermore, you’ll know how to control their play, and, ultimately, beat them.
– Will stay in the game for a long time.
– Rarely go on tilt.
– Doesn’t waste chips.
– Will take down some of the biggest pots.
– In terms of quantity, won’t win a lot of pots.
– Their strategy revolves a lot on the luck of the draw. If they don’t get good cards, they won’t play.
– Can be bluffed out of pots if the bet is big enough.
– Rarely change pace.
– Extremely easy to recognize.
How You Beat Them
This type of player is extremely timid when playing. Use this to your advantage. If they’re checking a lot during a hand, or if they’re just calling your small bets, they probably don’t have much better than middle pair. With good timing, you can probably bet big and scare them off. If this type of player isn’t betting large sums of money, they probably don’t have much. They’re very cautious and susceptible to bluffs – use this to your full advantage.
Tight – Aggressive
Most pros will fall into this category, and if you ever want to be successful, this type of play is what you should strive for. This type of player will only play premium hands dealt to them, and once they get a solid hand, they’ll play it to its fullest, extracting the most money they can from it. Expect raises. Bluffs could be common with this type, but tells, however, will definitely not be. Be wary of a player of this type. If you don’t know what you’re doing, they’ll take your chips in no time.
– Play cards to their fullest.
– Almost no tells.
– Don’t throw away chips.
– Will play only premium hands.
– Can be prone to slow playing.
– Will sometimes miss out on a pot because of folding pre-flop.
– Wins less pots than looser players.
How You Beat Them
This type of player can often be the most difficult to take down. They will only play the best pre-flop hands, and usually have the best hand going into the river. If you hit a monster flop, though, by slow playing, you will often entice them to bet big, hoping to scare you away. It’s the classic check-raise situation. This technique will often pay off huge for you, but leave them in quite a bind, possibly putting them on tilt. Very rarely will you bluff this type of player out of a pot – you’ll have much better odds beating them in a showdown. Milk all you can out of this player, as you may only get one chance to do so.
Loose – Passive
The casual poker player with a lot of enthusiasm. This type of player lacks experience, often times calling all the way to the river with next to nothing. Rarely will you see a loose – passive player make a bet, but you can count on them calling almost every one of yours. By this reason alone, it’s very hard to tell their hand strength, giving them a big advantage around the table. They will call almost every small to medium bet, but large bets will scare them off most of the time.
– Hard to tell hand strength.
– Can win a lot of underdog hands for the simple fact that they never fold.
– Lacks experience.
– Will throw away their chips on a draw.
– Almost never bets, but will call anything.
How to Beat Them
This type of player is the beginner of the bunch, so you need to treat him like it. You need to know that this player will often call with next to nothing, so don’t be put off when they call your big bet on the turn. Watch out for connectors and suits on the board; loose – passive guys will call all the way to the river trying to complete a draw. If you notice that they may have completed a draw, back off on the betting. You can basically play this player as any other fish – they won’t last long in a table full of people who know what they’re doing.
Loose – Aggressive
This type of player can often be the most frustrating to play against, and is the most likely to put you on tilt. They bluff to excess and throw their money into the pot like they’re paying a stripper. They’re extremely inexperienced and won’t win most games, but can take out some of the best players due to their reckless style. They play most hands…and lose most hands.
– Will intimidate players out of pots.
– Can win underdog hands.
– Can send players on tilt.
– Relies mostly on luck and other players folding.
– Very inexperienced.
– Plays too many starting hands.
– Bluffs in excess.
How to Beat Them
Basically, while playing this type of player, you need to keep your cool and stay calm. Their strategy involves throwing you off yours. Don’t let them intimidate you with big bets, as they will often have nothing to back them up. Watch for tells. Because of their inexperience, there’ll be plenty to catch. Stay calm, stay collected, and stay focused, and you’ll have no trouble with this type of player.