written by: John
We can all probably agree on the fact that poker would be a much easier game to play if everyone played the same way. If everyone had the same hand ranges, made bets in relation to the strength of their hand and never bluffed, it would be obvious when a player is ahead or behind in a hand and can act accordingly.
Despite the fact that this would be a much easier game to play, it would be incredibly boring and would be very difficult to make any money. Everyone would just simply pass money back and forth with no real action unless someone was coolered by just a slightly better hand.
Luckily for us, poker isn't like that. Poker is an extremely diverse game in terms of what kinds of players there are, how these players play their hands and how this affects you when you are sitting at the table with them. In poker, this diversification in players is commonly referred to as a player's table image.
As a poker player, it is important to take note on what the most common table images are and their tendencies as it will directly affect you when you sit down to play. To further elaborate, we have reviewed the three most common player table images as well as what to watch for when playing against them.
Poker Table Images
Part of your job as a poker player is to pay attention to what is going on around you at the table, especially the images that are being displayed by your opponents. The reason for this is simple; not every player is the same. One type of strategy will win you money against one type of player while the same strategy will cost you your stack against another. Let's look at a common player image types.
The term 'rock' is another word for a very, very, very, tight player. This type of player will typically only play the top premium hands such as AA, KK, QQ, JJ and AK.
This type of player will prove to be indifferent to you when playing together. The reason for that is, is that this player will play hardly at all which of course makes it difficult to make money and when they do play, they will obviously have the nuts or 2nd nuts. In this situation, you are not making any money either.
The only money you can expect to win from a player such as this is when they are seated to your left where you can be put into position to steal their blinds. Short of that, there will not be much money to be made with these players.
It shouldn't be difficult to point these kinds of players out, but be sure to do so, so that when they do decide to play a hand you can get out of the way.
A player who has been dubbed a 'calling station' does exactly what the title suggests. Call, call, call and call some more. These types of players are very passive, meaning they lack any aggression whatsoever and will generally call you down if they have caught any piece of the board regardless of how strong their hand may be.
So, the very first thing that you should not do is try to bluff against these types of players. Why, you ask? Well, the whole idea behind a bluff is to get someone to fold even if they have the best hand. Since a calling station doesn't know how to fold, attempting a bluff here would be just a waste of chips since they will look you up every hand.
No, the correct way to play these players is to simply have a hand that is higher than most of their range and just bet for value. Bet anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the pot and you are sure to get a call. Just remember that these kinds of players always seem to think that you are bluffing, so be sure to take advantage of that will solid hands and you are sure to be paid off.
As a side note, it is in your best interest to have these players sitting on your right if at all possible. This is because if they were on your left, they would simply be calling all of your raises with you being out of position on all later betting rounds most of the time.
Maniacs tend to be the kind of player who likes to raise with virtually any two cards from any position at the table. This is a problem for you because it makes all of your decisions difficult be it pre-flop or post-flop since you will have a hard time putting your opponent on a specific range.
But, that doesn't mean that the maniacal player at your table cannot be beaten and taken for all of his or her money. Since they will do most of the raising for you, just wait until you have a solid hand and let them do all of the hard work.
It should also be noted that these players are best suited if they are on the immediate right of you or one seat further. The reason for this is that you will want to have position on these opponents on later streets. Not to mention that if they were on your left they would be 3 betting you quite often.
Player Images and Tendencies
Now, these of course are just generalizations of these types of players but more often then not, many of these specific traits will hold true. Also, once you have learned how to identify these kinds of players, you can then go on to label them as passive, aggressive, weak, and tight and so forth so that you know how these players act and most importantly, how you can act in relation. In short, your mother may have told you to never judge a book by its cover, but in poker, not doing so will surely cost you some money.