You can gain a vital edge over your rivals at the in-person and online casino tables by gaining an understanding of their psychological makeup. Pursuing an astute poker strategy is important, but poker psychology could be your secret weapon. This guide will explain the various types of player you will encounter at the poker table, teach you how to read your opponents, and highlight the traits you must hone to become a better poker player.
The 4 Types Of Poker Players
Poker players can typically be divided into four broad groups: loose-passive, loose-aggressive, tight-passive and tight-aggressive. Some extreme players are difficult to pigeonhole, while others manage to craftily straddle multiple categories, but it is important to gain a thorough understanding of these four types of poker players.
Loose-passive poker players are renowned for playing too many hands, displaying a reluctance to fold and relying on luck. These players lack a thorough grounding in pot odds, and they generally lose over the course of a session. They are also referred to as fish and calling stations, and more experienced players will regularly take them to the cleaners.
You will sometimes come up against seemingly wild and untameable players known as LAGs – the abbreviation for loose-aggressive – at the poker table. They play a lot of hands, and they display a tendency to raise after the flop in an aggressive fashion. Successful LAGs adopt a poker strategy that sees them make correct decisions in marginal situations after the flop, and they often capitalise after opponents underestimate them. You might also find yourself up against a maniac, which is essentially an extreme version of a LAG. Maniacs are often weak players that go in hard on almost every hand, and it can be easy to vanquish them by playing tight and inducing bluffs. Experienced LAGs are much more skilled and harder to counter than maniacs.
Tight-passive players are among the easiest to read at the poker table. They are also known as rocks, such is their propensity to remain inactive. They sit back and wait for high-quality hands, often making sensible decisions before the flop. However, it can be pretty simple to play against a rock. They will generally only bet if they have a very strong hand, and they rarely bluff, so you can safely fold against them. If you sense a weak tight player, attack their blinds and display selective aggression at opportune moments.
The best poker players generally fall into this category, known as the TAG. They only play with the correct starting hands, and they will then dial up the aggression after the flop. You generally see them betting and raising instead of checking and calling, and they often have a lot of joy when playing against loose players and passive players. TAGs are often the hardest players to battle with, so you might want to focus your efforts on beating rocks, fish and maniacs instead of sitting at a table full of TAGs. If you do want to eke out a bit of money from TAGs at a table, seek out situations to steal their blinds, defend your button and raise their continuation bets.