Poker is a fascinating game where players personalities often translate to the poker table. In other words, if you know how a person behaves at the table, you can often predict the style of poker player they are too. Naturally, it is not a universal truth that every player behaves how they are in life. Some people play just for the fun of it and don’t adopt specific playing styles. In this article, we’re going to look at seven common playing styles in 2021.
1. The Nit
A nit is a term reserved for players who play ultra-conservatively. You can find these types of players at low to mid stakes. They’re the type of player that might even be churning out a small win rate based on rakeback or careful game selection.
It’s a style that employs playing very few hands and taking very few chances. You won’t see them showing down junky or questionable starting hands. They are only interested in playing premium hands. Some nits try to slowplay or set traps too. This rarely works and often results in missing value though. Texas Hold’em Questions describe nit poker as losing poker due to the evolution of aggression in online poker so it’s not a style to aspire to. Most players avoid paying off a nit as their style is transparent even at the low stake’s games online.
2. Wannabe Professional
These are ten a penny at the casinos and mid stakes games. They’re the players who have watched the pros on TV or watched them on Twitch and do their utmost to replicate. They fail to realise that professionals are playing in higher stakes games where dynamics are totally different.
A wannabe professional is likely to have some technical ability and understand key concepts but often lack other skills like game selection, humility, table awareness or patience. Wannabe professionals could be professionals if they stopped trying to copy idols and found their own style.
3. Tight Aggressive (TAG)
These are solid, reliable players that are usually maintaining a good win-rate at poker. You can find them at any stakes as it’s one of the most profitable styles to implement. There are fewer TAG players at micro stakes as most of them would move up to low stakes.
It’s a style that uses calculated aggression and solid starting ranges to exploit opponents who are overplaying or playing too cautiously. The tight aggressive brand of poker has been the default way to play for most pros online. This is also the style that most poker training sites, poker forums and instructional videos suggest intermediate players to adopt.
4. Calling Stations
There are fewer stations around than years gone by but they still lurk at most games online. These are aptly named calling stations due to their inability to fold. No doubt they are almost all losing poker players. After all, you can’t win at poker if you don’t fold from time to time. These players will never throw away top pair or a solid pocket pair. It doesn’t matter what the betting is, they’re sticking around. The best way to beat these is to value bet thinly and go easy on the bluffing. Calling stations don’t care what you have and are only fixated on their own.
Bots are a fascinating area of discussion in online poker. Whilst there has been a reported rise in poker bots in the online poker community, very few of them are advanced enough to earn money. Most of them are used to claim bonuses or earn rakeback at low stakes. The robot style I am referring to is that of a predictable, ABC player that makes the same moves all the time. These players are break-even or possibly small winning players, taking advantage of rakeback and the smallest of edges. They play the same on any table and are probably 8 tabling the same stakes.
A robotic playing style is common among players who are bored of poker. They’ve hit a ceiling in their ability, played for years and don’t want to quit. They’re happy making a side income and lack the ambition or hard work to try new ways of playing. These players occupy full ring games and SNGs. They know their hand selection and push/fold charts and won’t deviate from it. This is not a fun style of poker.
6. Loose Aggressive (LAG)
The loose aggressive movement gained popularity several years ago and continues to be the style many winning players dream to use. It affords players to play more hands and make intricate and complex bluffs. This is all well and good for those that can pull it off but it’s not realistic for the majority.
The LAG style really falls into two groups, good LAGs and bad LAGs. I would estimate the ratio is 5:1 in favour of bad LAGs. Most players adopting this style don’t have the technical skills post flop to pull it off successfully.
The loose aggressive poker playing style should be reserved for those with many years’ experience. Only those who have played many hands can attempt to use it with any degree of success.
Professionals are those that make money from poker. They aren’t one specific playing style. They are adapting to you and the table, finding the most profitable way to take opponents money. Professionals are easy to find at the table. They aren’t blowing up or making crazy sized bets often. They’re taking advantage of everyone else’s’ shortcomings.
These players making up a very small amount of the poker playing pool. So, you don’t have to worry about them. Very few of them play the low stakes games. Those that are play from a foreign country where fifty dollars goes far. For the most part, it’s in your interest to avoid these at the table. You want to win the most money you can and it’s going to come from the other players, not professionals.