Poker online players have varying styles of play and different levels of experience. If you can quickly identify the type of player you are up against and their skill level you can use this knowledge to alter your playing style and maximize your opportunities.
There are many types of an online poker player and, of course, many levels of experience between those players. Texas Hold’em the card game is similar to pushing spaghetti around a plate – some will get more, others will get less and the house always takes a slice. The statistics of cards over time dictate that we all have the same opportunities. The key to maximizing our potential gains is to quickly identify your opponent type and skill level. If you can correctly identify your opponent then you will be able to alter your playing style to maximize your win, and just as significantly, minimize your loss.
Let’s review the various playing styles that you will come across in an average Texas Hold’em Poker cash game. Players will either be:
- Tight Players
- Calling Stations
And within these styles, you will find a range of aggression that goes from passive to aggressive. What follows are some strategic hints and tips to help you play against each form of online poker real money player in an online environment.
Rocks are the most common type of Texas Hold’em Player. They are the easiest to beat and usually are inexperienced new players who think the game revolves around the cards that are dealt. It’s also the most natural playing style and so you will come across them regularly. These are the people you should look to play against. Controlled aggression is the way to proceed. Bet at these players when flops look ugly and they’ll most likely fold. If they re-raise you in return, step aside and let them take the hand, coming right back at the next round. A rock who has been sitting folding the last 20 hands, only to come out betting, is the easiest read of all. If you can’t see them coming then I’d suggest you take up a different game.
Tight players are usually battle-hardened. The difference between a tight player and a rock is that they understand the need to come out more often, with the occasional bluff here and there. More importantly, they usually use the time spent sitting out, to identify opponent characteristics in order to play their weaknesses. The best of all players sit in this category – Tight Aggressive No-Limit Texas Hold’em players need to be identified early on and avoided at all cost. Find one and you should re-examine your table selection.
Calling stations present an interesting playing style and are the second most common type you’ll find in play poker online. By definition fairly weak, these players rarely take the initiative and thereby have to rely on the luck of running up against an aggressive player while holding the nut or near nut hand. More often than not these people will lose because they are:
1) Playing their cards and not their opponent
2) Have no initiative
3) Regularly rely on card catching strategies
Maniacs are a rare breed of player seldom seen in low limit or tournament Texas Hold’em Poker games. They have no fear of losing, indeed it’ll look like they want to, and it is this that sets them apart from most players online today. Difficult to play against, these opponents rely on your fear of losing your stack to gain chips. Often seen with large chip stacks relative to the table, Maniacs will bet large regularly, and whatever hand you choose to play, it is likely that you will have to be prepared to go all-in with it. No card catching against these opponents – if you try you will be punished.