How to profile players in Texas Hold’em

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Posted on: May 19, 2020 5:37 pm EDT

Understanding your opponents is a guaranteed way to ensure pots are captured

In Texas Hold’em, the optimal scenario would be one in which you could see the opponents’ cards and either make a bet if you have a good hand or fold when you are behind (unless there is a chance to call). But, since we can’t see the opponent’s cards nor have superuser powers, profiling is the next best thing. There is no sure way to find out the exact cards your opponent is holding in any poker game, but you can get pretty close in the estimation. As in everything, practice makes perfect and an experienced player can at least comfortably narrow a range of hands.

There are three main types of poker players that can be spotted and that are worth considering: good aggressive, bad aggressive and bad passive. The names are quite self-explanatory, which also implies that one of the sure ways to be successful is to employ a more aggressive strategy – even if sometimes it can turn into bad-aggressive and lead to poor outcomes. Focusing on these three major types is easier than those complex classifications listed in several poker books and forums. This way, you can quickly fit a player in any of those categories and make a decision when you need to. The profiling tool is to be used when you are facing an uncertain moment and need extra help to decide if there isn’t much information about the opponent.

Bad aggressive players most likely played above 30% of the total hands and most likely even more. They usually open with aggressive action. A good aggressive players most likely will stay between 20-30% of hands. Less than 30% of hands played basically means that you are facing a bad passive player. For passive players perhaps big bluffs won’t have the desired reaction, so avoid them. Bad aggressive players are different to tackle – usually, it’s a good idea to make sure your ranges are stronger than the average before taking action. And, finally, the good aggressive players must be treated with respect. Make sure you engage only into solid hands and a more aggressive play.