Understanding poker player types and how to exploit each is key to making money in poker, no matter the game or format.
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In case you missed it, in episode 11 I showed you a new study technique to catch your mistakes, find your leaks, stop your tilt and analyze your opponent’s play using Poker Game Tape.
Day 6 of my 30 Day Challenge to release a new podcast every day
Poker Player Types, Podcast #12
At the end of this podcast you’ll know which players you should be targeting at every table and how to exploit their major weaknesses.
Your goal in poker is to take money from somebody else and put it in your pocket. You need to understand who you’re up against in order to profit off them, and to do so we have to profile each player.
Why do we profile players? The answer is that we want to know who to play pots against.
As Ed Miller in his book, ‘The Course,’
“The money available to a player winning long term comes from other players’ willingness to put money into the pot with bad hands that a perfect player would not play.”
When you’re profiling your opponents, you’re looking for weaknesses. You need to understand their weaknesses and selectively target the players most likely to give you their chips. Knowing the “targets” at the table, you can pick which pots you want to play. GO AFTER THE WEAKEST SPOTS AT THE TABLE.
Another very simple yet perfect thing that Ed Miller said was “Attack weakness, avoid strength.”
A key to profiling is to always be an active observer whether you’re involved in the hand or not.
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Tight vs Loose and Passive vs Aggressive
Tight vs Loose – tight players play less hands, loose players play more hands.
Passive vs Aggressive – passive players prefer calls and checks, aggressive players prefer bets and raises.
THE 4 POKER PLAYER TYPES
Tight Passive – quick to fold post, raising WATCH OUT!
Monikers: Rock or Nit
Common VPIP/PFR Stats: 15/5, 9/3
- Characteristic: Strong hand selection & semi-positionally aware. Folds too often pre and raises only the best.
- Adjustment: Play a wide but strong range IP and w/ initiative. Iso these players IP and call their raises w/hands that play well post (good playability).
- Characteristic: Don’t often fold to 3bets and 3bet=nuts.
- Adjustment: 3bet and 4bet with the strongest hands to get value from his tight range
- Characteristics: Calling flop & turn = likely going to showdown.
- Adjustment: Value bet more post and ditch to aggression
Loose Passive – they stay in way too long and put too much money in the pot, raising WATCH OUT!
Monikers: Station or FISH
Common VPIP/PFR Stats: 33/10, 25/5
- Characteristic: LOSING PLAYER IN GENERAL. YOUR #1 TARGET.
- Adjustment: Play as many hands with him as possible
- Characteristics: Plays very wide & weak ranges. Not positionally aware.
- Adjustments: Play ranges that dominate theirs and isolate them (as limpers or in the blinds) whenever possible (preferably IP).
- Characteristics: Limps & calls raises just to see a flop and get lucky.
- Adjustments: Choose good starting hands that can flop strong and get value w/TP.
Tight Aggressive – often a reg or a winning player and multi-tables
Monikers: TAG or Regular or Nit
Common VPIP/PFR Stats: 18/14, 22/17
- Characteristics: Very positionally aware and their ABC style can be easy to read. Open-limps rarely, but expect OL/raises w/strong hands.
- Adjustments: Put them in tough spots b/c they’ll just fold instead of putting too much thought into it b/c of all the other tables they’re playing.
- Characteristics: Folds a little too often (bluffable) but not overpairs on the flop. Plays strong hands fast post-flop for value.
- Adjustments: Raise bigger than usual to bluff, and play IP to make their decisions tough. Put him on a range and when he gets active consider folding.
- Characteristics: WINNING PLAYERS IN GENERAL, SO AVOID THEM.
- Adjustments: For the most part avoid these players, especially OOP (unless you’ve found specific weaknesses to exploit).
Loose Aggressive – very aggressive and often a high variance loser. If you’re playing cash games, keep ‘em on your right so you’ll always have position.
Monikers: Donk or Maniac
Common VPIP/PFR Stats: 36/24, 55/35
- Characteristics: Too much aggression w/too wide/weak ranges, opening and calling too much pre.
- Adjustments: Play a dominating range for value and mostly IP.
- Characteristics: Non-believer post and can spew and tilt-spew, overplays often esp the 55/35 maniacs.
- Adjustments: Call off w/good hands (vs their range) and be ready to call all-in on wet boards w/plenty of equity.
- Characteristics: Chases all draws thru the flop & turn.
- Adjustments: Value bet fast and much on the flop & turn; bet less to entice a shove or call from worse (missed draws, 3rd pair) on the river
But I want to make sure you know that there is no set rules to follow against any one player type. You need to think situationally about each hand. This is the trickiest part of playing the player, taking all the different bits of info you’ve garnered and putting it to use. It takes a lot of practice along with a bit of focus and paying attention to do effectively.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: While you’re playing your next session, set a timer to go off every 10 minutes. When it does, pick a table and think about each player around the table and describe all you know about them – style, weaknesses, how to exploit, etc. This will train you to profile your opp’s and it’s a great way to test that you’re paying attention. Keep that Poker Player Types PDF open while you’re doing this challenge.
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In podcast #13, I’ll discuss another great personal development I’ve read and that I still use the techniques every day, called ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod.
Until next time, study smart, play hard and make your next session the best one yet.