Poker may seem like a deceptively simple game, but the best players have an understanding of both mathematics and psychology. Understanding personalities can give players an edge against other players. The way people play poker often reflects their personality.
Poker players have two decisions. They must decide whether to fold a hand they’re dealt or to play it. If they decide to play it, they must either call the amount of the current bet or raise it. Players who play many hands are described as “loose,” whereas those who play few hands are called “tight.” Aggressive players tend to raise while passive players tend to call.
Loose-aggressive player (LAG)
LAG players play most of their starting hands. They thrive on unpredictability and will use crafty moves to try and throw their opponents off guard. They take high risks and pull off semi-bluffs or straight bluffs more than others. Super-aggressive loose players act like bullies at the table, betting and raising as much as possible.
Making haphazard, back-to-back plays is common for LAG players when gambling on card games such as poker. However, the LAG style is not for beginners, and it can be very predictable if performed by inexperienced players.
Tight-aggressive player (TAG)
A TAG player plays relatively few of the total hands dealt and stays aggressive most of the time. TAG players are aware that decisions in poker are easier if you are the last to act. They are focused and aggressive, but they aren’t reckless. Developing skills such as good hand selection gives them a clear advantage over other players who play with a weaker starting range of cards and aren’t in a position of power.
Loose-passive (calling machine)
Loose-passive players like the action, but they don’t want to initiate it. They tend to play it too safe as they don’t want to rock the boat. They are callers rather than raisers. In a business environment, these people may be great team players, but they won’t often fill leadership roles.
Many beginner players start off by calling every bet if they have even the slightest chance of winning the pot. Thinking that every hand has a winning chance isn’t one of the best ways to be lucky at poker.
A Nit player will typically fold unless they have a ridiculously premium hand. Since they almost always play premium hands, other players with more aggressive playing styles can easily tell when to fold or raise on their moves. In theory, Nits could win a grand pot by waiting until they had a ridiculous hand and then push for all-ins. However, the fact that they are totally risk averse usually has the opposite effect and gives them less chance of winning big.