Poker Strategies for Different Types of Players
Aggressive players tend to play with their stack and not with their cards. In any given game you may raise 3 times the big blind on a nice starting hand, where a very aggressive player may raise 6 times the blind or even go all in. You have to be aggressive to win at poker - there is no doubt about that, but you cannot play on aggression alone. These types of "pushy" players will end up losing more times than they win.
How do you keep your cool when an aggressive player is betting big bets into your good hands? Play the normal and good starting hands you would usually play into a raise and remember to consider that this is an aggressive player and his big bet does not mean the same thing as your big bet. You may bet 1/3 of your stack on AA in the hole while they may go all in on pocket 7s.
Tight players are an easy read yet are cause for concern. Most of the time a tight player will not bluff at a pot or try to buy out the blinds. If you see someone win every time they bet or win almost every hand at showdown, they can be considered a tight player - they only play when they have the hand. Be wary when a tight payer bets into you - you better have the nuts or you are going to lose.
You can push tight players out of pots very easily. Say you flop nothing, (and you wouldn't know this unless they showed), but they flop 2nd best pair and you throw a bet into them. They are most likely going to fold. The easiest way to get the best of a tight player is to steer clear of him when he is betting, and bet him out of pots at every chance you get.
Bluffers are the players who try to scoop up every last unclaimed chip at the table. If there is heavy pre-flop betting and it checks to them on the flop, they are the ones who throw a big bet out even though they haven't flopped anything helpful. These are the players whom you see constantly buying out the blinds, always betting when the action has died down, and always taking a stab at a big pot no matter what they are holding.
The best way to catch a bluffer with his or her pants down is to set them up. Say you hit a really good hand on the flop. You can trick them by checking, then either calling their bluff, betting or raising them after they have bet. I personally like to just call their bets on the flop and turn and then check raise them on the river. If it is a true bluffer they will fire as many bets as they need to in order to take that pot. Bluffers are easily trapped.
Now for the worst of the worst players - fish! A fish is the most irritating player to play against. The plays and bets they play make no sense at all. Fish like to chase hands and are sometimes called "calling stations" by other players. You cannot bluff a fish, so don't try. These players have high hopes in every hand they are dealt and will call just about any size bet to see the next card. Fish can be caught simply if you play the way you normally play. Fish tend to just call every bet and not make many bets themselves, so when you get a decent hand and bet big, they are going to call you and their stack now becomes yours.
Now, for the top players, or sharks. A shark is good at every aspect of the game and can adjust his play to all of the above types of players. Sharks are very hard to sit with - you can never REALLY get a read on them. You may find yourself frequently asking questions like: "what is he betting?" or "does he have it?". The only answer to catch a shark is - THE NUTS. You can try to outplay a shark, but you had better be holding some damn good cards.
If your play style can fluctuate against all of the different types of card players, then you are on your way to achieving top player status. Changing the way you play from situation to situation and from player to player is the only way. Every different type of player has his strengths and his weaknesses. If you can combine all your strengths together, the weaknesses fall down to a very low percentage, and you can become unstoppable!
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