There are many different types of poker players that you will encounter when playing in cash games, Sit & Gos or MTTs.
The first distinction you will need to make when identifying the different types of players at the table is whether they are tight or loose.
Some players can be ultra tight/conservative and only play premium starting hands like TT, AQ+ whilst others can literally be playing any two cards.
The second distinction is between passive and aggressive playing styles. These categorizations describe how someone plays and bets their hands.
Passive players will often just check and call rather than bet and raise. On the other hand, aggressive players will be looking to push the action a lot more. When they enter a pot, they are more likely to raise, and they prefer to be more aggressive after the flop.
By combining the above playing tendencies, you’re able to put a poker player into one of these four main categories: loose-passive (LP), tight-passive (TP), loose-aggressive (LAG) and tight-aggressive (TAG) players. Which playing style are you?
4 Types of Poker Players
The only way to answer that question is to actually play for real money. If this is your first time playing only poker from India then follow our beginners guide to poker and you will be off to a good start.
1) LP – Loose Passive “Calling Station”
These players are loose pre-flop, play their hands passively and rarely raise.
There are plenty of these types of players at the low limit tables both online and offline.
They are the “fish” at the table, because they’re doing all the things you should avoid such as open-limping, playing too many hands, often chasing draws with incorrect odds to try and get lucky, and rarely showing any aggression.
Loose passive players aren’t known for being bluffers, which goes against their passive nature and trying to take the least amount of risk.
If a calling station is all of a sudden coming out and betting aggressively, you definitely need to give their bets and raises a lot of credit.
They probably have a very good hand, a pair of high cards. Let the play pass and don ´t give them any money.
2) TP – Tight Passive “Nit”
These players are very tight pre-flop and playing good starting hands, almost to the point you don’t even know they are the table.
Like loose passive players, they also play their hands in a passive manner by preferring to just call and rarely raising or betting unless they have the nuts or close to it. They are easy to read because they’re playing so few hands and always revealing the strength of their hands.
These players can be hard to extract value from because they’re looking to only build big pots with the nuts, so don’t expect to make a lot of money from these tight passive nits, but they also don’t pose a big threat to better and more aggressive players.
A competent player knows when they can push them off a hand, because unlike loose passive players, nits are capable of folding hands. With that being said, you’d much prefer sitting down at a poker table that was full of loose passive fish.
3) LAG – Loose Aggressive “Maniac”
These players are the crazy ultra aggressive players who are playing just to have fun, out-wit their opponents and boost their ego (possibly?). They are playing lots of hands and betting aggressively to attack the tight and timid players in the pot.
When loose aggressive players are running good, it’s possible for them to win a lot of money in a very short period of time, however, generally their lack of a willingness to tone down the aggression is their downfall. As a result, quite often they are getting it in badly and need to suck out to win the pot.
4) TAG – Tight Aggressive “Rock”
They are very solid and selective with their pre-flop starting hand selection and aggression.
They play ABC poker and only play good starting hands. Unlike tight passive players, when they make a hand they will play their hands aggressively. It can appear as though they are very aggressive players, as they usually always have the initiative in a hand, and are either betting or raising, but this is because they usually have the goods.
A TAG poker player’s level of aggression is still nothing like the maniac’s post-flop aggression that seldom slows down.
Why Should You Categorize Poker Players?
If you can more easily classify players into specific groups, you are able to start making certain assumptions about their play. You can more easily put them on a range of a hands and predict their moves, making it easier to play against them and earn yourself a nice profit.
By playing the same way against all of your opponents, you will not maximize your long term results, as you are failing to exploit the mistakes and profitable situations that will arise against each specific opponent and playing style.
For example, against an overly aggressive poker player that has position on you, a great play when you make a good hand is to check and allow them to hang themselves. More often than not, they will bet like you’ve usually seen them do whenever they sense some weakness. However, if you’re involved in a hand against a passive opponent, you know they are not likely to bet when checked to, so you shouldn’t consider check raising.
With this knowledge in hand you can then develop a poker strategy depending on the contender styles at hand and adjust accordingly.
What is the Best Playing Style for New Poker Players
A tight aggressive playing style is good for beginners who are just starting to play on Indian-friendly poker sites, because it teaches the basics like discipline, playing good starting hands, getting value from your made hands, and there will be fewer tricky hands because you’re playing a tighter range and generally going to have a strong hand. Playing TAG, if you’re patient and wait for good hands, you’ll get paid off by the weaker fishy players at the table.
Furthermore, aggression is key because it gives you two ways to win the pot. If you have a hand, you want to bet purely for value to build a bigger pot with the best hand, but as the pre-flop raiser, even if you happen to miss the flop, a continuation bet will quite often take it down uncontested, because you showed strength before the flop.
There are some players who are successful playing a loose-aggressive style.
However, this requires good hand reading skills and to be comfortable with aggression, as you will often need to make aggressive plays to get opponents off better hands.
This playing style does make it easier getting paid off with your big hands, though! As you progress from micro-stakes to small-stakes poker games online, you are going to encounter more and more of these loose aggressive players.