Poker Tables and Players Images

Table Image

So many times has been discussed about establishing a poker table image- creating false impression of your playing style and habits in other poker players. There have been two sides of the debate. One side indicates you should establish a tight, tough image because that gives you more opportunity to steal pots. The other side indicates you should establish a loose, weak image because that will induce players to call you, creating larger pots when you win. We shall introduce the third side to this debate. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you should know what image other players do have of you and adjust accordingly. The point is not to create an image. It generally doesn't work and it often costs money to try. You should play with what you have.

Image Debate

Advantages of a Tight Image

There are some writers who think that it is important for your rivals to think of you as a tight player. This is because it will give you more opportunity to buy small pots with a bluff. A tough image tends to discourage players from bluffing when you are in the pot, making fewer situations where you have a tough decision to make.

However, tight image is not always the same thing as a tough image. Most of the time, players observed as tight are also observed as weak, with the tendency to fold too easily. If that's the kind of tight image you have, then it may be true that you can sometimes use that image to steal a pot or two, but players will also try many steals from you. If you are really a tougher games player then that's a good thing. If you are not much tough, then a tight image may not work to your advantage as much as you think.

Advantages of a Loose Image

Other writers think it is important for you to establish a loose image because it attracts players to call you more often, increasing the size of the pots you win. It also encourages them to bluff more often, under the assumption that you always have a weak hand. The idea is that you are getting other players to put more money in the pot in those situations where you have the best of it.

Disadvantages of Both Views

Both sides of the debate have been disagreed. There is no need worthwhile to go out your way to do anything to try to manipulate the image that others have of you. Your energy is better spent making sure you know what that image is, whatever it might be and adjusting according to it.

Image of a Dynamic, aggressive poker Player

What image are other players likely to have of you if you play a dynamic, aggressive game? Many of them will likely think you are a near maniac: a loose, aggressive, weak player. Others will think you are tough tricky player. The reason for this is that most players think of playing in terms of the cards. They will look at the cards you play and how you play them, but they will not pay much attention to the situation.

For example, do you raise on the flop with a flush draw? Sometimes you will and sometimes you won't. You will raise if you are on the button the UTG player bets, and three or four players call. You can raise if you are on the button and the UTG player bets and everyone else folds. If you are an UTG you might bet a flush draw, but if think that the player on your left will bet then you will check and raise after three or four players have called his bet. If you check and you were wrong about who was going to bet and it is checked to the player on the button then you will call with your flush draw not wanting to knock other players out.

Many rivals will observe that sometimes you raise with a flush draw and sometimes you don't. They will not observe the situation. Instead they look for things as: Does he only raise when he's got Ace-high flush draw? Does he only raise when he is on the button? They will conclude that you are volatile and that you play your cards almost randomly.

The second example your rivals might notice and not fully understand that they might see you raise on the button with a 66 but then not raise on the button with a 77. They will also not notice that when you raise on the button with the pair of 6s you already had six players in the poker pot, but when you only called with the pair of 7s, there were only three players in the pot. They will focus more on the cards and not on the situation.

Even though your play might be very predictable, they won't notice. They may conclude you are a lucky maniac or may conclude you are a tricky player. It doesn't really matter that much. You can benefit from either of these images. The important thing is to know what image each player at the table has of you. They won't all have the same image, and you will have to modify your play to exploit the particular image that active players have of you.

Exploiting Your Image

You have to know what image your rivals have of you. It is not difficult to ascertain. They will tell you. During the play of the session, you will have some players giving you some kind of advice. They will tell you how terrible your play of a hand was and how lucky you were to win that pot. These are players who have described that you are a loose-aggressive maniac. Other players at the same table will something to the effect that they just can't put you on a hand. These players will think you are a tough player.
It is simple though. They will never mislead you about this. They will just tell you

When They Think You're a Maniac

If they think you are a poker maniac, they will raise and re-raise you with hands like top pair and a weak kicker. Discount any raises these players make. Because they will always think you are bluffing, they will tend to slow play when they have a better hand than you.

When They Think You're Tough and Tricky

Often you can bluff when these players are in the pot. They will virtually think that you have a better hand than you really do. If the flush card hits the river and you bet, they will sometimes fold top pair, convinced that you must have the flush.

Matching An Image To A Rival

If they are weak-tight, you want to be perceived as tight-aggressive.
If they are loose-aggressive, you want to be perceived as weak-tight.
If they are tight-aggressive, you want to be perceived as loose.
If they are loose-passive, you want to be perceived as loose-wild.

A Significant Image

The important thing for you to do is to be nice. Players appreciate it. A nice person image is the significant image you can have and it is one you can develop.

The people you are playing with get enjoyment from playing online poker. If your behavior enhances little to the enjoyment of the game, they might actually start enjoying playing at your table. And it's players who are playing for fun that you want at your table. Most players don't card of losing the game but they really don't like to give their money to rude, arrogant people most of the time.

Continue: Poker Player Stereotypes

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