Working With Different Types of Poker Players

A mysterious man wearing a hat holding playing cards to his face at a poker table.

The growing popularity of online casinos has renewed people’s interest in the classic game of poker. With more people turning to online poker for ease and convenience, it’s expected that the game will attract even more players even as it evolves through the use of technology. In fact, some people even attribute its popularity to its ever-evolving nature and ability to adapt to the times by generating new variations. This alone has led to a diverse and exciting poker culture, both online and in-person.

The diverse nature of the broader poker community has also prompted studies into player psychology and the impact of technology, particularly on poker strategy. We look closer at the four types of poker players, the strategies they typically adopt and how you can exploit each type.

Why Poker Players Use Different Strategies

To succeed at any casino game, be it poker, bingo or slots, you need to have a strategy. Although some may think that live and online casino games are games of chance and luck — which they are to a certain extent — big winners often rely on strategies to gain the upper hand. 

Different strategies come in handy at different stages of the game and in different situations. In a nutshell, the ability to use a range of strategies makes a player more adaptable and flexible, allowing them to exploit their opponents’ weaknesses and increase their own chances of winning. After all, when the stakes are high and you want to play poker well enough to remain unbeaten, having just the right strategy is imperative.

Types of Players

Once a poker enthusiast has grasped the basics of the game and is confident about how to play poker, strategy, tactical thinking and practice are sure to follow. These will guide and inform the type of poker player you will ultimately become. Poker players can be categorized into one of the following four categories: loose-passive (the calling station,) loose-aggressive (LAG,) tight-passive (the rock) and tight-aggressive (TAG.)

A man wearing a suit sitting at a poker table with large stacks of casino chips in front of him.

Loose-Passive (the Calling Station)

The calling station is a player who’s known to be in it for the fun of the game. Be it in live or online poker tournaments, loose-passive players rarely bet or raise. However, what they do really well is playing a lot of starting hands. The calling station has a relatively low chance of winning because their approach includes calling even weak hands!

To exploit a loose-passive player, you can start by bluffing less. Bluffing against the calling station can be ineffective because they tend to call quite often. Instead, you can play tighter in the hopes of having a stronger hand. Overall, when playing live or online poker for real money, some may prefer to play against the calling station who is often there for the experience and enjoyment.

Loose-Aggressive (LAG)

Loose-aggressive players are often experienced players. Because this is a high-risk strategy, conservative or risk-averse poker players often avoid it. LAGs play many hands, bet and raise, although they rarely call bets.

To exploit a loose-aggressive player, you can start by protecting your blinds. For LAGs, blinds are profitable stealing opportunities. You should keep in mind that your blinds are constantly being targeted — so be defensive! Because LAGs can be quite difficult to beat, it’s vital to remain calm and adjust your own aggression. Don’t be afraid to match their aggression if you’re certain you have a strong hand or a good read on your opponents.

Tight-Passive (the Rock)

This type of player rarely bets or raises. That’s why the assumption is always that if the rock does eventually bet or raise, they have a strong hand!

The very nature of tight-passive players suggests that they’re risk-averse and play with as much caution as possible. They aren’t prone to bluffing and typically play in a very revealing and straightforward manner. To exploit a tight-passive player, you can try to gain the upper hand by playing a 3-bet bluff or playing aggressively by making continuation bets on the flop when they show weakness — all of this in the hope of ultimately getting them to fold or continue with a weak hand.

Tight-Aggressive (TAG)

Tight-aggressive poker players can be hard to beat! These players typically spend a lot of time studying poker strategy and how to win. TAGs play only a few hands but frequently bet and raise.

While exploiting TAGs can be quite challenging, it’s not impossible. Because their strategy is pretty clear, you can try more deceptive play by making unexpected bluffs or slow-playing strong hands to potentially throw them off. You should also aim to get the most value from your strong hands when you have them. Let TAGs build the pot and then take advantage of them through well-timed raises or calls.

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