Identifying the Types of Poker Players: a Beginner’s Guide

When you are a beginner at playing online poker, you want to learn as much as possible about playing the game right and getting to know your opponents’ playing styles so you’d know how to play against them. We are here to help you with the theory behind identifying the types of poker players that should help you prepare your tactic and maybe even discover your own playing style.

Knowing how your rivals play could help you decide whether you should call or fold, even if you have what you would consider a strong hand, for exampl­e. A­nother thing that could help you with making your decisions during the game is our guide on how to play poker, especially if you are a complete beginner.

Each player has their own playing style. Some like to make risky calls and expect the thrill of victory, while some prefer not to take their chances and patiently wait for the strong hand when they can expect a good outcome. Other, usually more experienced players, sometimes bluff to trick their opponents into thinking they have a stronger hand than they actually do.

A player’s usual behaviour can change when they have a particularly strong or weak hand, so they can fall out of their usual betting pattern. That makes your task of assigning a particular style to a player even more difficult but not impossible. Let’s have a look at the main types of poker playing styles and how to identify them.

The 4 Main Types of Poker Playing Styles

Knowing a player’s personality and playing style is important when playing a game of poker because it can tell you a lot about their hand when you are unsure about what your next move should be. But as a beginner, you probably don’t know much about other players, so it should help to learn more about the types of poker players and eventually find your style, as well.

First, you should know that online poker is not much different from traditional poker in land-based casinos when it comes to how players play their game. But chances are that you will encounter more different players when playing online, and being able to recognize their playing style should help you decide how to play against them.

To start with, you should pay attention to how your opponent plays their starting hands, the initial two cards every player gets. If a player plays many of their starting hands, that means that they are playing more loosely than those that are quick to fold pre-flop and play only a few selected hands.

Another thing to look out for is the player’s betting pattern. Some players tend to bet and raise more often than others, sometimes even regardless of the hand they have, while others tend to take a more passive approach. When you cross that with how they play their starting hands, you get the four types of poker players:

  • loose-passive
  • loose-aggressive
  • tight-passive
  • tight-aggressive players.

The fact is that the lines between the defined styles are sometimes blurred, and some players might fall somewhere in between categories. However, these categories should help you determine your opponent’s style, especially when you are just learning how to read other players in the game of online poker.

types of poker player styles

What Is a Loose-Passive Player?

A loose-passive player is also called a Calling station. This type of player plays many hands, regardless of whether they are strong or not, hoping they can win or have fun with what they have. They seldom raise the bet but often call, waiting for better cards, which is why they are also known as calling stations.

Loose-passive players are the kind of opponents you want to play against, as they tend to make many mistakes hoping to win with not-so-strong cards. Experts say that beginners usually fall into this category and that it’s easy to spot them because they play most of their starting hands and rarely fold post-flop.

What Is a Loose-Aggressive Player?

Someone who typically plays a lot of hands and tends to bet or raise when it’s their turn to play is a loose-aggressive type of player, otherwise known as LAG. You will recognise this type of player among professionals as the ones that rarely call when other players raise. They are not so easy to spot in casino games, so it might take some time to notice a pattern in their behaviour.

Experienced players use this tactic to win money either by bluffing and making their opponents fold or by taking more risks with their hands. A loose-aggressive player is exposed to making mistakes because of the aggressive playing style, but they can also make their opponents make more mistakes than other types of players.

What Is a Tight-Passive Player?

A tight-passive player is also called a Rock, and it is a player who rarely plays the opening hands and also tends not to bet or raise during the game. That’s why a Rock won’t be playing half the time, but when they do, you can almost be certain they are holding a strong hand and not bluffing about it.

A Rock enjoys playing with aggressive players because they bet and bluff and tend to focus on each other, giving the loose-passive players a chance to wait for their opportunities. These players don’t mind waiting for a strong hand to get their shot at winning.

What Is a Tight-Aggressive Player?

Also known as TAG, a tight-aggressive player is very selective with the starting hands they play and will play an aggressive post-flop game. When playing a hand, a TAG will frequently bet or raise and seldom check or call the opponent’s move. Tight-aggressive style is considered to be the most profitable, and it is a favourite style among the most successful poker players.

These so-called aggressive styles tend to be more profitable if the players know how to take advantage of these strategies and if they don’t go too far. It might be a bit challenging for you as a beginner to play against aggressive players, especially TAGs, but it is a style you could aim for when you start improving your game if it fits your personality.

How to Find Out What Type of Poker Player I Am?

Apart from these four, there are other types of online poker players, but these are the categories that most players fall into and the ones you should learn to recognise. Now, what is your playing style, and where do you fit in? How do you find out what type of player you are? Do these playing styles apply to other card games, as well?

Start by observing your actions when you get a weak or strong hand. Do you play every hand? What is your betting pattern in each situation? Do you fold pre-hand, or do you bet or raise even if your hand is not so great? Do you maybe raise pre-flop?

If you identify your playing personality as one that you don’t think is best for your game, try to change your style by observing players that play the game you want to play and repeat what they do. Training is an important part of adapting to a certain playing style, and when you identify the one you want to adopt, you should mirror the actions of a typical player.

Which Style is Best to Play?

Different types of poker players make the game so fun to play. Players adopt a certain style based on their personality, but it is possible to change it to play with the best professional and amateur players. Players say that they win the most money when playing against loose-passive players because they tend to make mistakes.

Aggressive playing styles should be the ones that bring the most benefits to players, as they are not afraid to bet and raise or bluff when playing against weaker and less experienced players. Tight-aggressive style is considered to be the best and most effective because players that play this style are selective with their hands and focused on winning more.

If that is the style you wish to adopt, make sure to carefully observe players you identify as the ones playing like that and mirror their moves. Good luck!

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