Stereotyping Players In Live Games

In live poker games, you only get to play about 30 hands per hour. At this rate, it can take a while to build an understanding of your opponents. Thankfully, there are some general stereotyping guidelines you can follow to have an understanding of how your opponents will play even if you just sat down at the table. It simply takes too long to learn your opponents’ tendencies in live games. To really beat the game, you’ve got to make a few assumptions based on the player’s apparent age, race, sex, and lifestyle.

Old Guys

These players usually have a pretty decent understanding of hand values. A lot of them have hangups about being caught with their pants down, so they’ll be pretty reluctant to call huge bets with marginal holdings. Risk-aversion is the name of the game with these players. They sit there, grind it out, and do everything possible to avoid having their head taken off. When holding a strong hand against them, you’ll just have to make small- to medium-sized value bets in hopes that they’ll call you down.

Women

Sure, there are a few exceptions to this rule, but by and large, women are pretty bad at poker. They often have a lackluster comprehension of hand values and are pretty easy to trap into calling bet after bet so long as they have at least top pair. Unlike with old guys, it’s pretty safe to fire larger bets against women. They don’t seem to put as much emphasis on “how much” was bet… only that something was bet. Use this to your advantage. If you want them to fold, just try betting something small to see if they’ll go away. If you want them to call, bet somewhat hefty.

Young Guys

Young guys can kind of be hit or miss. The “drunken frat boys” can tend to play pretty bad whereas the “quiet kid with a hoodie and an iPod” could be one of the best players in the world (thanks to hundreds of thousands of hands of online poker). But by and large, young guys play pretty well. When in doubt, it’s best to just stay out of their way. However, if you have a drunken frat boy at your table, don’t be afraid to milk him for all he’s worth if you have a big hand. Often, they have some “macho” Hangups that disallow folding. Young guys are also easy to induce into making a bluff, so don’t shy away from leading out at the flop if you hit it really well.

Asians

Asian males, for the most part, are completely erratic. A lot of deeply-rooted cultural inferiority leads to them attempting to “prove something” while at the poker table. They like to play loose, make a lot of bluffs, and gamble it up! A term used in the poker world to describe these players is “crazian”. If you run into a crazian, try to trap them by betting big and hoping they pick a poor spot to bluff all-in. The downfall of these players is their inability to admit defeat. However, with all of that being said, they’re often pretty good at poker albeit insane. There’s nothing wrong with staying out of their way and waiting for that monster hand to rob them blind and leave them shouting, “webuy!”

Hispanics

You won’t see a ton of Hispanics at the poker table, but when you do, I’ve noticed a lot of them carry a “just happy to be here” attitude. They’ll generally play very straightforward; if they have a hand, they’ll bet, if they don’t, they’ll fold. You can open up a little more against these guys. As long as you seem friendly and respectable to them, they’ll generally fold a lot to you.

Slow Playing Aces – Playing With Fire

Slow playing is the act of limping in a pot with a premium hand such as pocket aces to incite your opponent to raise with a weaker hand. Slow playing is not meant for the beginner because there are a lot of factors to consider that if are not taken into account can end up costing you a lot of money.

Let’s Use An Example To Illustrate

You are sitting in the small blind at a 6-player table and you are dealt A? A?

  • Blinds – Level 2 – $50/$100
  • Player 1-Fold
  • Player 2 Call
  • Player 3 Call
  • Player 4-Fold
  • Player 5 (You)?

Big Blind?

You are now faced with the crucial decision; should you call and feign weakness or raise?

If you raise you are running the risk of having every player fold and only picking up a $350 pot which is perfectly fine, but you want to extract as much from your opponents as you can.

If you limp in and complete the big blind now you run the risk of being out flopped by a set, or a possible flush draw.

You call and the big blind checks behind you.

The flop comes

9? K? Q?

You are first to act what do you do? At this point slow playing is not an option, there are two clubs out there and it is very possible that one of your opponents picked up a flush draw. You need to weed out any flush draws and hope that one of your opponents paired his K.

In a situation like this you need to make a substantial bet to knock your opponent’s off their hands. A bet of $800 would be appropriate here. By over betting the pot you are not giving your drawing opponents the right odds to call, but you are inviting the player that hit his K to re-raise all-in at which point you push your chips in the middle and take down a monster pot.

Let’s imagine a different scenario in which you check on the river.

  • Player 5 (You) Check
  • Player 6 (BB) Bet 200
  • Player 2 Call
  • Player 3-Fold

You decide to slow play your aces and call.

The turn comes 8?

The board is now:

9? K? Q? 8?

Now there are 2 possible flush draws on the board but you don’t put either player on a spade draw because they wouldn’t have called the 200 on the flop.

  • Player 5 (You) Bet 400. A value bet to increase the pot size.
  • Player 6 (BB) Call
  • Player 2 Call
  • The river comes 3?

That is a nightmare card because it means your opponents could have made their flush. Still, you decide to salvage your hand by representing the A?

  • Player 5 (You) Bet 2000
  • Player 6 (BB) Fold
  • Player 2 Re-raise all-in for $2300 more.

You’ve just been caught and there is no way you can call the re-raise and you are forced to lay your hand down. You have effectively just lost almost 50% of your chip stack instead of picking up the pot on the flop or the turn.

When you slow play a big hand you need to make a decision based on your position at the table, the flop, how many players are involved in the hand, what type of player are you up against? All these factors will determine how you should play this hand. The most crucial component of slow playing a hand is knowing when to fold. If you can’t force to lay down AA when you know you’re beat you will never make it as a poker player.

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