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.
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.
- 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.
- Tight Table- Tight Image
- 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.
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.