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Classify Your Opponents

Most poker players are creatures of habit. After playing 4 or 5 rounds or 50+ hands, most players can be classified a certain type. The most notable types of players are the rock, the calling station, the fish, and the more and more popular “weak-tight” player.

The rock is the easiest of all to identify. They play tight poker, only playing premium hands. They are very conservative. They raise when they have top pair top kicker, or over pairs.  Rocks have a hard time folding their big hands, and will usually call down queens and kings with an ace on the board.  Because of this it is hard to bluff a rock post flop.

You want to identify the rocks so you know

who you can steal blinds from
who you can get paid off from when you hit a flop big
who 99% of the time will not bluff
The popularity of poker has led to many people trying to improve their game.  One of the first big things that people learn is to play less hands, or play tight.  This has led to an influx of rocks and his closely related style, the “weak tight” player.

Weak tight players are a lot like rocks.  Rocks will bet their good hands though.  Weak tight players are less aggressive.  They will not bet middle pair when it is pretty obvious that it is good.  Weak tight players will not make many moves if any.  An aggressive player can steam roll a weak tight player all game.  It is pretty easy to know where you stand in the hand against a weak tight player.

You want to identify the weak tight players so you know

who you can steal blinds from
who you can get to fold post flop
who 99% of the time will not bluff you
Fish are the life blood of the poker world.  They feed the entire poker ecosystem.  Fish are generally people who do not understand many of the fundamentals of Hold Em poker, call with any two cards preflop, call without proper odds, will draw to losing hands (inside straight draw with 3 to a flush on the flop), will draw dead, and will call to the river on most hands.

You want to identify the fish so you know

who you can value bet
who will try to chase draws without the proper odds
who you can double up through
who will pay off your big hand
Value betting is the opposite of slow playing.  Value betting is betting when you are pretty sure you have the best hand.  Playing a fish, 2nd pair, bottom pair, top pair bad kicker are often the winning hand and should be value bet.  Against a rock, the same hand could very well be a fold.