The game of poker is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn about player type exploits if you want to stay ahead of the pack and maximize your profit. One thing that is often overlooked is how to exploit specific poker players & strategic pitfalls, board textures or tendencies of your opponents and make them a source of your strategy to become a more profitable player. Let’s review four of the top player categories that can help us understand how to be more profitable at the poker tables when we log in a session.
Just click play, or continue reading, to get a deeper insight into these exploits.
Exploiting Passive Poker Players
Whenever you sit down at a table, it usually doesn’t take long to figure out certain tendencies of players. There may be a table captain, the guy that always defends his big blind but also the passive players that fold way too often against your continuation bet or that check behind the flop as the initial raiser when their perceived range may well warrant more aggression.
A lot of easy small pots can be earned against passive opponents that overfold pre and post flop, which provides more opportunities to make +EV poker bluffs and claim money uncontested. However a full-blown attack on turn and river should be carefully considered if those passive players actually stick around to finish and play out the hand.
Exploits Against Players That Don’t Fold
Quite often you will also stumble over opponents that never fold to a continuation bet or continue their aggression post flop. Under these circumstances, bluffs can be quite costly whereas valuebets with top pair get paid off more often and should be the main source of profit.
The same opponent can also combine both styles and turn out to be very aggressive with their preflop poker play but then shut down post flop in order to adjust to the table. This was not as common in the past but with lots of poker math and knowledge out there and available to everyone, it makes sense that the pure stereotypes are no longer as prevalent.
Quick Tip: Recognizing Table Talk
Another way to identify these two broad player types and further physical tells is the table chat. Not everyone is sitting there with hoodies, headphones and shades on. Pay close attention to what your opponents are talking about or how they interact during the hands. Is someone always chatting a lot on the flop and suddenly falls silent as he calls a first barrel and checks the turn?
Exploits Against Overly-Aggressive Players
While aggression can lead to a lot of success, nobody likes to taste the own medicine when facing this type of opponent at the table. To quickly determine how to deal with it, pay attention if the aggression is there by default or based on spots and board textures.
A lot of players first focus on a passive solution in their poker study and give up on bluffs while the key to more profit may be a check-raise against an opponent that has previously continued on each flop when the action checked to him. It doesn’t mean you should check-raise every time but an increased frequency may well work out to tame the beast.
Exploiting Tight Poker Regulars
In a time where live poker is on a hiatus and online poker goes from one record to another, many players jump on to enjoy some poker. Those that prefer a very nitty playing style can be recognized in a short period of time as their raises on any of the streets don’t happen as often. While a top pair with a decent kicker may look very tempting, what does it mean when you then face a thin raise by such a nitty player on the river, for example?
The density of their raise can be narrowed down to a very nut-heavy range and paying off every single time will almost certainly be hurting your bankroll. However, that doesn’t mean you should shut down and fold too often in the lead-up to these situations as you otherwise become a target and get exploited.
Conclusion & Cliffnotes
While it may not be possible to recognize all these four scenarios in a reliable way at a casino, for online poker, there are tools such as poker software HUDs that do all the work and provide all the data you need to adjust your playing style. The only task left is recognizing the patterns and spots, drawing the conclusions, and going for the solution that makes the most sense.
To sum up this article on four of the major poker player types and exploits to look for at the tables we want to focus on maximizing profits through proper categorizations. While there is a wide variety of poker player personalities when we can bucket individual habits into the four poker player trend types listed above it will be much easier to pick the perfect spots to gain advantages and collect more chips for stack and bankroll.
- Passive Players – Fight For Small Pots
- Sticky Players – Avoid Bluffs and Increase Valuebets
- Aggressive Players – Increase Your Check Raising Frequency
- Tight Players – Watch Out For Top of Range Hands
Just remember to look for the below poker player types at your table and use the strategies above to increase your chances for a winning session and also as this articles by James “SplitSuit” Sweeney discusses to improve your poker mindset.