The main types of poker players

The main types of poker players

The first step when playing poker is classifying our opponents according to their playing style. Correctly identifying the type of player we face will allow us to adjust our strategy and maximize our profits. In this article, we will learn to differentiate the five most common types of poker players and their essential characteristics.


A “maniac” is a player who plays many hands and does so extremely aggressively. This type of player generally bets raises, re-raises frequently, plays one or two tables with an incomplete stack, and makes frequent bets and all-ins pre-flop (even with medium hands like 99 or AJs).

Some strategies against this type of player are the following:

Play solid: Use the player’s aggression to obtain value with strong hands.

Inducing bluffing: Allowing the maniac to make aggressive moves with weak hands, capitalizing on his playing style.

Avoid bluffing: Do not try to bluff a maniac, as his tendency to call can cause us to lose chips unnecessarily.

Lower the standards for a strong hand: Hands that seem weak against other players can be strong against a maniac.

Be consistent: Decide beforehand whether we will call or fold, and maintain this decision throughout the hand.

Calling station

A “calling station” is a player who plays many hands and does so passively. This type of player usually plays multiple hands and rarely shows aggression, even having strong hands. Typically, he plays one or two tables and tends to have less than the full buy-in. This player profile generally tends to limp preflop, minimum bet, and minimum 3-bet, as well as call on the flop, turn, and river without much resistance.

Some strategies against this type of player are:

Avoid bluffing: Don’t try to bluff, as these players don’t fold often enough.

Bet with good hands: Bet with strong hands to get value, as these players often call with weak hands.

Make small value bets: Make smaller bets to extract value from your weak hands.

Play passively draws: Play passively with pocket draws to get free cards frequently.

Avoid raising: Do not raise unless we have a strong hand since this player’s reraises usually indicate a very strong hand.


A “NIT” plays with few hands and only with stronger hands. This type of player usually plays at several tables simultaneously, always has a full stack of at least 100BB, and appears at the showdown only with very strong hands.

Some strategies against this type of player are:

Attack his blinds: Take advantage of his passive style to steal the blinds.

Be careful when showing action: His hands are usually very strong.

Value hands with implied odds: Big hands have more value against them.

Avoid marginal value bets: He probably has a strong hand if he bet on the turn.

The main types of poker players

TAG (Tight-Aggressive)

A “TAG” plays with few hands but aggressively. This type of player tends to play multiple tables with a full stack and rarely bluffs (when he does, it’s usually a semi-bluff).

Some strategies against this type of player are:

Stealing blinds: TAG players tend to fold many hands in early positions. It is recommended that we take advantage of this pattern to steal your blinds more often.

Expand our range: Especially in position, we can play more hands than we normally would. This can make the TAG doubt the strength of our hand and make mistakes.

Using check-raise: If we suspect the TAG player is betting with a wider range than usual, we can try to check-raise with a strong hand to maximize value.

Slow play: Slow play can be very effective against a TAG player. If we have a strong hand, we can allow the TAG to continue betting, extracting more value.

LAG (Loose-Aggressive)

A “LAG” plays with more hands than a TAG player but is still aggressive. This type of player generally opens with wider ranges from all positions, 3-bets more frequently when in position, and plays more hands from the big blind and folds less.

Some strategies against this type of player are:

Play a tighter range preflop: Protect our strong hands.

Steal “blinds” less frequently: Remember that you will defend more.

Don’t give up easily after the flop: Their ranges are usually weaker than a TAG.

Avoid unnecessary rivalries: Maintain a solid game and let them make mistakes.

How to classify our opponents in poker

To be able to identify our opponent, it is recommended to analyze the following behaviors of their playing style:

Hand selection: Does he play many hands or few?

Aggression: Does he play aggressively or passively?

Number of tables: How many tables is he playing simultaneously?

Stack Size: Does he prefer to play with a full stack?

Betting Patterns: Does he limp, minimum bet, or minimum 3-bet?


Identifying and adapting to the different types of poker players is essential to improve our game and maximize our profits. Adapting to their playing style will allow us to make more informed decisions and increase our chances of success at the table.

What do you think about this topic? Do you know other types of players?

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Image by Michał Parzuchowski via under Creative Commons license.

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