Know Thine Enemy – Poker Players
KNOW THINE ENEMY; KNOW THYSELF The more poker you play, the better you will become at identifying certain types of players. Though it’s no guarantee of complete success, once you have an understanding of how a player approaches the game, you will have gained some much-needed knowledge that will help you read their cards and win some pots. While playing, observe your opponents’ style and betting patterns. Things to consider: Do they play slightly recklessly by staying in longer than they should? Are they too conservative and fold immediately if they think they have a bad hand? Do they have the guts to bluff? Keep these things in mind for your own playing as well. It’s good to vary your approach—you don’t want your opponents to get a handle on you.
• The loose poker player stays in round after round with less-than-perfect hands. In many cases, he is hoping that his hand will improve with new cards. Because he rarely folds, the loose player may win some pots, but by staying in too long, he also loses a lot of pots. After all, the word loose looks an awful lot like lose and loser, doesn’t it?
• The tight casino player plays conservatively and gets out early unless he thinks he can win. Tight players rarely chase cards, and they hold on to their money until the time is right and raise bets when confident. If you adopt this style, be careful—it is wise to mix it up just a little. By never straying from the “tight” style, other players will fold early when you bet, knowing that you only stay in with a good hand.
• The aggressive player, like the loose player, tends to stay in but is also likely to step up the betting with raises. However, this does not necessarily mean that he or she always has a good hand; the aggressive player may simply enjoy creating some action at the poker table, or he could be bluffing. However, if he does have a good hand, look out— if you stay in, it can cost you some big bucks.
• Passive players are less skilled versions of tight players. They don’t take risks, fold the poker hands early, are reluctant to raise, and rarely, if ever, bluff. These players may not feel fully confident of their poker skills, may have already lost some money, or may have simply not discovered the thrill of what gambling is all about.