Types of opponents – Part 1 – Brief overview of the game and an introduction to the types of opponent you can face
Is No Limit Hold Em a game of luck or skill?
This question gets asked time and time again, mostly by people who don’t know anything about the game, besides what they see in movies (almost always not a true portrayal of the game) or from traditionally stereotypical and often wrong perceptions of the game and its players. The question has even been the subject of many court cases around the world and not always with what poker players would consider the right result. The answer of course is blindingly obvious to just about any regular knowledgeable poker player. It’s both. In fact in any given hand luck is indeed the biggest factor, but as time goes by skill determines who comes out on top in the long run.
Learn the skills of the game
Well since we can’t control our luck (prayers and mojos aside J ), as poker players we have to focus on the skill element o the game and let luck take care of itself. The skill element involves multiple levels of poker strategy
, from simple awareness of the rules of the game, awareness of simple facets of the game such as pot odds basic, to more advanced skills such as building a psychological profile of your opponents, all these areas and more come into play when deciphering the correct move to make in any given situation. In this article we are going to examine one of the most important factors of the game. Who are your opponents?
Attach labels to your opponents
Firstly, let me state there are many types of poker players, and although most players can be categorized, every player is different and can at times do things uncharacteristic of the ‘category’ you attach to them, still it is useful to know your opponent’s typical characteristics and what this says about their normal approach to playing poker. While there are many categories, we can ascribe just about all players to four main categories.
Is your opponent a schoolyard bully or a whipping boy?
These are tight passive, tight aggressive, loose passive and loose aggressive. The first label, tight or loose, describes the number of hands the player enters pots with and how often they stay in the pot. The second (passive or aggressive) relates to how often the player is betting and raising in comparison to the amount of times they call or check. If they bet far more than they call or check then they are said to be aggressive, if they call or check relatively a lot compared to what they bet then they are said to be passive. Loose aggressive players come in two quite distinct types, so much so that they can be sub divided into two distinct groups’ maniacs and tough solid players.
In the next type of opponents article we will take a look at tight players, firstly at perhaps the most straightforward of your potential opponent’s, the loose passive and secondly at the more solid tight aggressive opponent.