Poker Player Profiles, Styles and Game Selection

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Player Profiles and Game Selection

No matter how good one is at something in life, there will always be somebody somewhere who is better. In the case of poker there will probably be many people in many places who are better. How can one player win under these conditions? Fortunately there will also be many people, all over the world conveniently hooked up to the internet that will also be worse. Consider the following example; we have a fictional player by the name of Steve. Steve is the 10th best player in the entire world. Steve could sit down pretty much at any table and be a favorite to win. Unfortunately tonight Steve decided to sit down at a table that by some huge coincidence was made up of the only nine people in the world that are better than him. All of a sudden Steve is just another fish in the sea, and he’s about to get munched up by the sharks. An important poker maxim to remember is, ‘it doesn’t matter how good you are, as long as you’re better than everyone else at the table’. As you can see, game selection is a very important decision to be made every time one sits down to play poker.

How can a player decide what game is a good one to sit at? Well, as one gains more experience, they’ll find that most players will fit into certain categories. Once one identifies which types of players will be the most profitable for them, they can then look for games comprised mainly of these types of players.

Here is a list of the basic player types:

Loose players generally are unaware of the importance of pre-flop hand selection. Unfortunately for them, understanding that concept is one of the keys to becoming a good poker player. Loose players are usually inexperienced, playing too many hands, and playing them pretty much regardless of their position. They also tend to call too much with hands that don’t warrant it. One thing to watch out for with loose players is that they will occasionally hit ragged flops that would be safe against a tight player. Hands should usually be played straight up against a loose player, betting for value, raising with your premium hands, and not bluffing too much. Far too many solid players throw away money trying to bluff a loose player who will call if they have any part of the flop.

Tight players or ‘rocks’ are pretty much the exact opposite of loose players. They will only play good hands, when they are in a good position. Raises from a tight player must be respected, and you should consider throwing away marginal hands if a tight player limped in from an early position. The best way to play against an overly tight player is to wisely use bluffs and position raises against them. An overly tight player will often lay down anything less than the nuts when faced with a raise on the turn. If a rock re-raises however, one should seriously consider folding anything other than the absolute nuts, the rock is almost certainly winning.

Loose Passive
Loose passive players are among the very worst players that can be found at the poker table. In addition to playing too many hands in bad positions, they will generally prefer to just check and call at every opportunity with anything less than the nuts. These types of players will rarely fold the flop regardless of what they have, and will often be happy calling to the river with bottom pair or even just ace high. Having position against this type of player give a sophisticated player many options, such as taking off a free card on the expensive street, although it is often right to hammer this type of player with value bets since they may just be calling with anything. Of course one should never, ever bluff this type of player as they are likely to call with almost anything.

Loose Aggressive
Loose aggressive players will still be playing far too many hands, but as opposed to their passive counterparts will often be raising with hands that had no business being played in the first place, much less with a raise. They types of players will usually try to bluff far too much, and will treat many drawing hands or medium pairs just as if they had the nuts. There are many different strategies that can beat this type of player. If you are to the immediate left of a loose aggressive player, it is often right to try and isolate them with a 3-bet after they raise. One still needs a reasonably good hand to do this, but the standards for re-raising can be loosened a bit against this type of player. One must be careful when value betting against this type of player since they are apt to raise with all sorts of junk putting their opponents on difficult decisions. It is often right to just let the loose aggressive player bet, and call them down the whole way with any reasonable holding. When a hand that’s an absolute monster goes up against this type of player, the owner of that hand can expect a huge windfall against the maniac who is apt to raise and re-raise with a hand that doesn’t come close to warranting it.

Tight Passive
Tight passive players not only sit there waiting for the very best hands, but unless they flop the nuts they will still prefer to check and call until their hands improve. It is rarely correct to value bet against this type of player, since they will only call if they are winning the hand. It is however right to often try and bluff tight passive players since they are unlikely to call with anything less than a strong holding. If they call, or god forbid re-raise it is time to give the hand up. If one is fortunate enough to have a tight passive player in one of the 2 seats to their left, then it would be advisable to often try and steal the blinds at every opportunity since they will be folding most mediocre hands to raises.

Tight Aggressive
Tight aggressive players are generally the best poker players around, and this is the type of player that most players should aspire to be. Tight aggressive players are selective about what hands they play, but play very aggressively once they do enter the pot. For this reason it can be hard to get a read on a tight aggressive player since they are always pounding the pot whether they have a very strong hand, or are just running a semi-bluff. If one sees a table full of players who only enter hands if they are raising, then this is a table that should probably be avoided. After all, why go out of the way to play against very strong players, when there are so many other options available.

Texas Holdem Poker – Texas Holdem Poker Strategy – How to play

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Texas Hold’em uses what is called a dealer button to indicate the theoretical dealer of each hand. After each hand is completed, the dealer button moves clockwise to the next active player. This player will be considered “the dealer” for that hand. In this way each player has equal opportunities to be in early, middle and late position. The two players immediately to the left of the dealer button place “blinds” to start the pot. The player to the left of the dealer button posts the small blind (usually equal to half the lower stake). The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind, equal to the lower stake limit. All the blinds in Hold’em poker are considered live bets and the players who posted them will have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to their position.

Once the blinds have been placed, two cards are dealt face down to each player (“hole cards”), after which the first betting round starts. The player to the left of the player who placed the big blind starts the betting for this round.

Each player now has the option to place his bets in the first round, which is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. (For example in a $10/$20 Hold’em game, the value of each bet is $10 for the first round. Therefore, when a user makes the move “bet,” this is equal $10, and “raise” is $20…a raise includes a call on the previous bet placed and one additional bet.)

Bets can be placed by playing Bet, Call or Raise. These options are available depending on the action taken by the previous player. Each player always has the option to fold. The first player to act has the option to bet or check. Subsequent players have the option of calling or raising if a bet has been placed, or betting or checking if not. To call is to bet the same amount as the previous player has bet. To raise is to match the previous bet and increase the bet.

Every player participating in the hand should have equal amounts of money bet as the previous players. Until the time all the players have placed equal amounts in the pot, the betting will continue. There is a limit on the amount and the number of bets a player can place during a betting round (four bets for limit games).

After the first round of betting is over, the Flop (the first three community cards) is dealt. The community cards are common to all the players participating in the hand.

After the Flop (and in each subsequent betting round), the first active player left of the dealer button is first to act. The second betting round also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure. So in a $10/$20 game, the value of each bet is $10 for the second round.

After this the fourth community card is dealt; this is known as the Turn. The betting limits now increase to the higher limit of the stake structure for the remainder of the hand.

After betting on the turn is complete, the fifth and final community card is dealt; this is known as the River. Betting continues as on the turn.
Once all the bets have been made, there are two possible outcomes: either all the players but one have folded (and hence that person wins the pot), or the remaining players reveal their hands and the best hand wins the pot.

The game play remains same for both No-Limit and Pot-Limit Hold’em game with a few exceptions to the rules mentioned above:

In limit Hold’em a maximum of four bets are allowed per betting round. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap, but in No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Hold’em there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. The only limit is that you cannot raise yourself. If all the other players in the hand only call or fold, the player would not get an option to raise, because the last raise was done by him.

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