Texas holdem poker playing styles

In No-Limit Texas Hold’em, table image is everything. It can mean the difference between a losing session and a winning one. There are a few rules you must learn before learning how to exploit your table image for maximum profit. Today we will focus brief information about Texas holdem poker playing styles.

The first rule is that if you plan on showing a loose table image, you must be playing players who will acknowledge it. You cannot go to a low limit table where players go all-in with anything and expect to make a profit by showing them how loose you are. The best way to beat a low limit game is by playing the cards. Table image becomes a factor when you are playing the player rather than the cards.

Texas holdem poker

The second rule about table image deals with giving too much money away on trash hands. If you plan on playing like a maniac, show your opponents that but don’t go overboard and start playing stupid. It is very easy to fall into this trap. As a maniac, your goal should be to showdown a few cheap pots with trash hands and to raise some pretty crappy hands pre-flop. A lot of times you will raise trash and hit top pair. Don’t get carried away with this and let it go if it must be done

The third and most important rule is to always play tight on the flop. Even if you are acting like a maniac, do the raising pre-flop. Only call down for a good image and show a stupid hand if the pot is really cheap.

The Online Poker Three Table Images for Texas holdem poker

The three table images we will discuss have varying degrees. I will outline the basic concepts and requirements for each image. The goal we are trying to accomplish here is letting our opponents make mistakes based on how we are perceived. We are trying to get them to lay down top pair when we are bluffing with a tight table image. Likewise, we are trying to get them to call us when we have the stone cold nuts and are playing like a maniac.

  1. Maniac
  2. Tight
  3. Crazy (Unpredictable)

You can learn to play any of these images and we advise you to master them all. On a daily basis, I might use all 3 table images if the table demands it. Table image should be chosen based on the current status of a table.

Which Table Image To Choose
Choose your table image based on whether the table is loose or tight.

  1. Tight Table- Tight Image
  2. Loose Table- Loose Image

This may look weird considering most people say play tight on a loose table and loose on a tight table. That is right. But you have to remember, we are talking image here, not the way we play. It doesn’t matter WHAT image we choose, we always play tight on the flop no matter what. Even when we are playing the role of a maniac, we will very rarely call down without nuts or a premium hand. We will occasionally show down a bad hand on purpose if it is a cheap pot overall.

The reason we want to show that we are tight on a tight table is because most of the time the players will give up top pair. You will be able to steal the blinds and bluff as much as you want so long as the tight players THINK you are tight.

Texas holdem poker

The reason we want to show that we are loose on a loose table is because we want our opponents to think we are stupid players as well. Sometimes, on a really loose table, all you need to do is sit there and you will still get action on pocket aces. If they are folding to your premium hands, then make a few stupid calls here and there and raise some trash hands pre-flop so they know you are there to play and not there to take their money.

The crazy table image is best when playing against players that you know are capable of reading you. Opponents that pay extreme attention to your every move can only be countered with one table image, the unpredictable and crazy image. These types of players (crazy/unpredictable) are winners over the long run because you will never peg them on a set hand. They know when to give up flops and know when to bet you out of the pot.

Texas holdem poker or Online Poker: Maniac

Playing like a maniac might seem easy at first, but it requires one to play with extreme attention to detail. The most important thing to understand is that we lay down many hands on the flop, sometimes even top pair/top kicker. Indeed, you will definitely be laying down more hands after the flop than you may currently think is necessary.

The first step is to simply raise a lot of hands pre-flop as soon as you sit down. Sometimes we will get on the table and raise the first 5 hands three times the big blind (3 x BB). You will notice that the table you are at may become very loose after your raises. This is good. After raising a lot, we will usually settle down and play tight poker until I feel the time is right to raise again. Two things will happen during the raising period: (1) You might hit your trash hand and take someone all-in; (2) You will establish yourself as a loose player

Playing like a maniac is fun but it can get you into a lot of binds if you can’t lay a hand down. I would advise playing the role of a maniac in CASH GAMES ONLY. In a tournament it is much easier to sit back and be patient. Tournaments are much more profitable when played patient in the early rounds and aggressive in the later rounds. Unless you are up against players you know well, don’t play like a maniac in a tournament.

Employing Maniac Strategy

When you demonstrate to the table that you are a maniac, you will start getting more calls than you thought possible. This is both good and bad. Although your bankroll will likely take bigger swings, you will be forcing players to make incorrect assumptions about your play. And, if you are consistently getting players to make the wrong calls based on your play, you will profit in the long run

The key to maniac strategy is laying down many hands if you hit the flop weakly.

Let’s show you an example

After joining a table, I decide to raise the first 5 or 6 hands to loosen the table up a little. On my 7th raise, I decide J9s looks pretty nice so I raise 3 x BB. A guy with pocket aces in late position only CALLS because he knows I am prone to raise anything.

The flop is Jc-9d-2s, perfect for the guy with aces. I bet big, he comes over the top, and I laugh as I take him in. Then he complains, “Nice call pre-flop, idiot.” I simply say, “Thanks,” and shake my head at the new players who just don’t understand the method to my madness.

The point we are trying to make is that in a No-Limit Hold’em cash game, when your bankroll allows it, playing hands such as Q9s or J9s with the image of a maniac can bring instant death to many fishy opponents. What most people don’t understand is that these hands, as well as pairs, suited connectors, and A-x suited, will pull in the best pots of the night.

One more example, this time illustrating the fact that when you first join a
table, occasionally you will raise with trash and hit.

  • I raise a really tight player’s blinds with Kc-2d. I usually steal this guy’s
    blinds but this time he calls my raise of 3 x BB.
  • The flop is 2c-Qc-2s. I throw out a huge bet on the flop to make it look as if I am stealing.
  • He comes over the top all-in and I immediately call. I win another huge pot on a trash hand that has almost no value pre-flop.
  • As he showed down his kings, I had to laugh. Of course he tells me,
    “Horrible play,” but we all know what is going on here: Although I
    got really lucky on the flop, the idea is to put your money in on a really good flop when you hit it.

An example of a laydown:
  • I had Ac-Kd and finally I get some callers, two to be exact.
  • The flop is Ah-4c-5h.
  • I bet big on the flop and a guy re-raises me all-in. From what I have observed, he has folded almost every hand. I have also seen him show down kings and queens before.
  • I think for a second and then I fold. I throw the hand face-up on the table as
    I say, “Nice hand, I had you on two-pair. Good luck.” As I leave the
    table, the guy approaches me and asks how I laid that hand down when I had been raising everything. I never told him what I am about to tell you:
  • The real key to playing the role of a maniac is to play nuts on the flop.
  • ALWAYS play tight on the flop. If you only have a pair and see a guy put you all-in, he most likely has you.
  • Always err on the side of folding rather than calling. In No-Limit cash games, the most money is made when you put your money in on the nuts. Wait for the other guy to make the mistake and then pounce on him.

Texas holdem poker or Online Poker : Tight

Playing tight makes the money. It is a fact. When in doubt, play solid,
tight, fundamental poker and you are sure to make a profit. There will even be short-handed games in which you must play tight to make a profit.
Playing tight seems easy. Pick the best starting hands and push them.

The problem is that many times you will get called and chased out. This is a very likely possibility. You must know how to play tight and when to vary your play for maximum profit. You also need to know in which games a tight style will be profitable.

Vary Your Play

You can play tight all day, but when the whole table is folding to your
premium hands you must alter your strategy slightly. The way to do this is to limp or call raises with some “safe hands.” What I mean by this is
raising the hands that will pay you off, such as A-x suited, small pairs, or,
occasionally, in a short-handed game, playing K-x, Q-x, or even J-x suited.

The point of this is to get action on your premium hands. You always want to keep people guessing if you can. Raising with “safe hands” also allows you to make easy decisions on the flop. Either you hit or you miss. If you are in a cash game you might even consider betting your draws. There are many ways to vary your play, just don’t go overboard.

When To Play Tight

Generally, I like to play tight on really crazy tables. While this is obvious, many people fail to do it. Waiting on hands seems to be the average online poker player’s weakness. You must exploit this on crazy tables by behaving like a monk. Envision a win for every time you fold. On a crazy table folding makes the most money. Repeat this over and over. Folding makes the most money.

Folding makes the most money. Awesome, now you understand how to make the most profit on a table with maniacs. Another great time to play tight is during the early stages of a tournament.

This is by far our favorite tactic. The reason we prefer to fold my small blind a lot and show everyone how tight I am is so that I can rape their blinds in the later rounds. This way, even if I don’t get the cards during any given tournament, I will have a chance to win it by bluffing the blinds. That is my
“double whammy” strategy to winning tournaments.

The last great time to play tight is when you are unsure of the table. When you are in a game with a bunch of players that you are unfamiliar with always play tight rather than loose. You will get a vibe for the overall status of the table this way. Always play tight when you cannot choose a table image regarding a certain game. Tight is right.

How Tight To Play

When we say tight we mean it. We often fold top pair with a decent kicker if I am re-raised on the flop. Always look out for the turn. When someone re-raises you on the turn, you are almost always beat if the player is decent. Also, be aware of a re-raise on a flush card or an obvious straight. If you are
even DEBATING folding a hand, almost always fold it rather than call.

That’s the rule. You are either raising in a pot with the best of it, or folding when you are beat.

Texas holdem poker or Online Poker : Crazy

Our advice would be to master each image so that you can adjust to any
table. Playing unpredictable is definitely a deadly image when mastered correctly. We absolutely HATE players who play this way. You can never tell what they are raising, when they are bluffing, or when they have the nuts. The problem is that most people get carried away with this style.

When To Play Unpredictable

If you are good, you can ALWAYS play unpredictable. It is a style that can
consistently win, day-in, day-out. The trick to mixing it up is knowing when to do so. You must play the player rather than the cards. You usually want to play unpredictable against really good opponents so that they can’t peg you on a hand. Experience will tell you when to switch it up and when to play the nuts.

Switching Gears

The key to an unpredictable table image is to always switch gears. Just when your opponents think you are going to play tight, play loose. When you first sit at a table decide what the status of it is. If it is loose, begin by playing tight. Just when they think you are tight, mix it up and play a little looser.

When you are playing loose make sure to bet the flop if it’s a heads-up
situation. Most of the time you will take the pot since your opponent will
generally miss the flop. If he calls and a scare card hits on the turn, for
instance, an ace for a low card flop, you probably want to fire another bullet
on the turn as well.

Knowing When You Are Beat

To become a good player you must know when you are beat and fold. It takes discipline but it must be done. I will let you in on two really good indicators that you are beat:

  • Re-raise on the turn: You are usually beat here. Most players will not re-raise on the turn unless they have a hand.
  • Raise or re-raise on the river: 95% of the time when an opponent raises or re-raises you on the river and you are forced to question whether you have the best hand, you are beat.

Learn to recognize these situations and fold. Folding when you have a good
hand is tough, but it separates the good players from the bad players. To
recap, always switch gears against the really good opponents. Pay attention to their every move and read them well. Playing unpredictable requires you to read your opponents on the flop, turn, and river. Recognize tricky situations as opportunities to fold.

The Art of Table Selection in Online Poker

Table selection is one of the most underrated aspects in poker. One would think that selecting the proper table for success is easy, but there are a few things you must know to become skilled at selecting tables that yield the most profit.

To become a great poker player you must utilize every edge you are given. The professionals know that poker is all about finding an edge in a game and exploiting it to maximize their long-term profit.

Online Poker

Selecting the proper table can make the difference between being a winning player and a losing player.

We will divide table selection into the following sections:

  1. Finding the Table: Average pot size and the view flop percentages will give us good information.
  2. Knowing the Players: “Spying” on players for maximum profit.
  3. Time of Play: Playing at the right time of day to yield even more profit.

Finding the Table for online poker

Before you even join a table you should first look at its status, which is usually located next to the table name in the lobby. If you are in a casino you will not have this option. Online poker rooms will show you two very important factors that will help you in determining which table to play on.

The first piece of information we want to look at is the average pot size. This will tell us how much money each pot is played for on average. Compare each table and pick a table with a higher average pot size to yield more profit.

The second piece of information we want to look at is the view flop percentage. Usually tables with a higher view flop percentage host more people playing mediocre hands. Always pick a table with a high view flop percentage as compared to the other available tables.

Knowing the Players

This is my favorite part of online poker. This tip will give you a huge edge whether you are playing live or online. If I had to guess, I would say around 2/3 of the players online never even analyze their table.

Most people online are either playing their cards, or are oblivious to this huge secret. If I had to tell you one difference between a professional poker player and an amateur, I would tell you that professional players develop awesome reads on their opponents.

Am I telling you that every time a player eats an Oreo he has pocket aces? Not exactly. I am not necessarily talking about physical tells here, but just an overall assessment of the style of each player.

Right when you join a table you should be on the lookout for maniacs. You should also be on the lookout for tight players. Watch every showdown.

How are they betting? Is everyone calling this guy’s pre-flop raise? If so, he is probably a maniac. Is everyone folding to this other guy’s pre-flop raise? If so, he is probably tight.

Once you figure out how each player is playing, adapt your play to that player when you are in a pot with him. Here are a few fast rules to go by:

  1. Tight Players: When you are in a pot with a tight player you may think about bluffing him. He will most likely fold to your bluff unless he has the nuts. This is the type of player who you always want to lean on in the blinds until he takes a stand. Surprisingly, these are the easiest types of players to play against because they are so predictable.
  2. Maniacs: These guys really do all of the work for you. A big mistake new players make is trying to bluff a maniac. Do not bluff this guy under any circumstance. Always wait and trap him with a good hand.
  3. Tight-Aggressive Players: These are the hardest players to play against. I advise you to steer clear of them altogether unless you have a good hand. These types of players have developed the style that most winning players use.

Time of Play

This is a little tip that I have found useful through a ton of experience at online play. Although you don’t always have to play at these times, it will help you net more profit.

Most of the juicy games you will see are either on weekends or later on at night. Most players have day jobs and are at work from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., give or take.

After work they will log on and play for fun, which is the best time to get a hold of these fish. Mostly, they treat poker as a hobby and will be loose callers, both pre-flop and post-flop. Also, many drunk players will play late at night.

If you have the time, play later at night or on the weekends more often. You can still play during the weekdays, of course, just try to exploit every possible edge. This tip has allowed me to find better games throughout the week.

-Thanks a lot for reading my article – The Art of Table Selection in Online Poker. Hope read and enjoy!