Playing online poker exposes you to players from all over the world. On the professional circuit, players gather information on the style and strategies of one another from the moment they take their seats. For beginners and intermediate players who want to do well, this should be replicated in amateur games.
Understanding the different types of poker players at a table allows you to predict the hand ranges and betting behaviors of your competitors more accurately. From here, you’re able to implement effective strategies and play exploitative poker. Without dissecting and processing your competitors’ playing personalities, you’re effectively betting in the dark and basing bets on your hands (and not the players around you.)
Since players can see only their cards (and community cards in some instances,) everyone starts off on a level playing field. However, by extracting information from opponents, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of success. Understanding how opponents react to hand ranges and whether they like to bet aggressively or fold often is what separates the amateurs from professionals. Read on as we discuss the ways to exploit each type of poker player.
The types of poker personalities
Traditionally, there are four types of personalities around the table: Loose-Aggressive, Loose-Passive, Tight-Aggressive and Tight-Passive. By categorizing your competitors, you’re able to identify their strengths and weaknesses and play accordingly. With this knowledge, you can become more economical in strategy and have a greater chance of reaching the latter stages of a game.
A loose-aggressive player is known to play many hands and isn’t afraid to bet or raise when it’s their turn. Although, they rarely call when other players raise. This approach is popular amongst the professionals. As a player, they expose themselves to higher-risk plays, meaning they’re known to be aggressive with weak ranges and call the preflop often.
If you’re holding a strong hand, exploit these players by letting them do the betting for you. By checking them, you’re showing little interest, meaning they may perceive you to have a weak hand and are trying to exploit you. So, allow them to control the betting during the flop and turn to maximize the pot. Then, raise on the river. Depending on the board texture, they’re known to call or fold, therefore you win the round.
A loose-passive player is involved in a lot of starting hands and will go the distance in a round if they have any kind of made hand. They find it hard to fold anything from a bottom pair to a flush. But they tend to make checks and calls rather than raises.
As poker player types go, loose-passive opponents are the most vulnerable, making them the easiest to exploit. Why? Because they’re prone to making lots of mistakes due to staying in rounds for too long and often disregard hand ranges.
This is the type of player you want to target. By raising on the flop, experienced players will usually fold, leaving you with only loose-passive players in the round. Once you have them isolated, be sure to raise each round and build the pot. However, don’t raise it too high as even they can fold sometimes.
Identifying the weak players from the strong is another key element to master while playing; and is what allows you to play exploitative poker at the right times.
A tight-aggressive player is an all-rounder. They are more tactical and aggressive when joining a round but play fewer hands. When this type of poker player is active in a round, they frequently bet and raise; and rarely make calls within the game. Typically, tight-aggressive players are the trickiest to play against as they’re the most spontaneous, making it harder to predict their hand.
You should only look to exploit these players when holding strong hands, as they often do the same. Stay under the radar and allow them to do the betting. Although, if you’re holding the nut hand, don’t be afraid to re-raise as they’re known to call when holding high-value cards. If you aren’t holding the best hand available, only carry on if you’re holding a strong kicker, else you risk losing big to a high card.
It’s often easy to predict who the tight-passive players are. They rarely bluff and only bet when holding a strong hand. So, if you’re going head-to-head against a tight-passive player, it may be time to fold as it’s almost certain they will have a strong hand.
On the other hand, if you’re holding the nut hand, you’re in a great position to play exploitative poker and build the pot. When active in a round, tight-passive players are hungry to win big and will do so by calling big bets or staking them. So, if you have the strongest hand of the round, be sure to raise their bets towards the turn and river.
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Playing online poker tournaments is one of the best ways to learn fast and be able to identify your opponent’s playing personalities with ease. BetMGM hosts an array of live poker tournaments and single games, making it the perfect place to start your poker journey.
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