Table Image - How Table Image Affects your Decisions

written by: John

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Your table image in poker is simply how your opponents perceive you to be playing. You could be labeled as tight, loose, aggressive, maniacal or a combination of these styles. Your opponents will adjust their play against you depending on your image so it's an important variable to consider when choosing what hands to play and how to play them.

Throughout this article, I will discuss the different ways a table image is created, how to benefit from your image and the disadvantages that each kind of image may have.

What Affects or Determines Your Poker Table Image

Many situations can determine or affect your table image.

One example would be being dealt several premium hands in a row. You might be labeled as a loose player because you have been involved in several hands within a short time frame. You might not even be a loose player by nature, but if you don't happen to showdown any of these hands, you might as well be playing any two cards as far as your opponents are concerned. Because of this, your opponents are going to start giving you less credit for a strong hand every time you are involved in a pot.

On the other hand, if you showdown nothing but the nuts, your opponents will give you tons of credit. Every time you enter a pot your opponents will assume you have a strong hand and only play back at your when they have an equally strong hand.

In short, what you do, what you do it with and how often you do it will determine your table image. If you play junk hands and show them down, you will be labeled as a loose or fishy player. If you play one hand for every 20 you are dealt, you will be labeled as a tight player. Limping or calling will give you a passive image while raising or 3-betting will give you an aggressive image.

How to Benefit from Your Table Image - Switching Gears

The biggest reason for knowing how your opponents perceive you is so you can exploit it. In other words, if your opponents see you as one way, the best way to make money from them is to act the opposite.

For example, if you are viewed as a tight player, you'll be given credit for being strong whenever you decide to play a hand. Having a tight image will allow you to:

• Steal more often. You can actually steal with less than optimal hands as you'll likely get folds preflop.

• Bluff effectively. You'll be given credit for a strong hand so whenever you bet, your opponents will assume you have it whether you actually do or not. This will make raising preflop and continuation betting the flop very profitable for you.
As a player with a loose image, you'll be given less credit for having a strong hand. This type of image will allow you to:

• Get paid while holding a strong hand. Your opponents will just assume you are bluffing or have a weaker holding which allows you to value bet them and earn a ton for your premium holding.

• See plenty of action. As a loser player, you will be played back at more often than you would if you were a tight player. This means that you can be sure that you'll get some action when you're dealt a premium hand as opposed to getting all folds if you were tight. 

The whole theme here is to switch gears and play the opposite of how you are seen by your opponents. If you are tight, you can loosen up and focus on stealing and bluffing tons of little pots. With a loose image, you will want to tighten up so that the hands you play are well ahead of the wide hand range your opponents are playing back at you with. This will throw your opponents off guard and will continue to do as long as you keep switching gears when they adjust to your new image. You'll continue to throw them off their game and may even put them on tilt.

Disadvantages of Your Poker Table Image

It's important to consider the disadvantages of your table image as well before you decide to act.

For example, if you are a tight player, you are going to have a hard time getting action with your strong hands. So, raising 3 to 4 times the big blind preflop will likely induce all folds. You're going to have to alter your strategy to maybe min-raising preflop or just raising less to induce any action.

On the other hand, if you have a loose table image the disadvantage would be not being able to bluff or steal as often. You'll get called or 3-bet much wider preflop and your c-bets or bluffs won't be nearly as effective post flop. You'll want to stick to stronger hands, as you'll likely have to show them down more often in order to win. 

Table Image Summary

The moral of the story here is simple; you need to pay attention and be aware of your image so that you are prepared for how your opponents may play against you. If you can do this, you'll always be one step ahead of your opponents which will result in them making more mistakes and you winning more money.