It takes all sorts, poker, and never more so that sat around a live table. From the Wild West to the East End, The Aria to Aspers, there no people as diverse as poker players. But forgetting the obvious need to categorize players in terms of their play, what are the characteristics that typify each of them? Can you put them into groups? Well don’t worry, because we have.
If you’ve ever pitched up at a live poker tournament, you might recognize some of the players we describe below. If you’re wondering which type we fit into, just picture that dog from the painting who folds tens pre-flop like an idiot but wearing a hat that doubles as a beer-holder.
This guy has been around since cars were invented, and back then he could smoke at the table, too, Goshdarnit. Whatever country you’re from, the remnants of the Wild West days of poker live on. The more ‘mature’ live poker player can be found leaning forward on his elbows to see flops, calling out of position and folding to most c-bets, before chewing some baccy and launching it into a spittoon.
We’re only half-joking. What were once the only players around a poker table now make up a frighteningly low percentage of any table fraternity, which is a shame. They can be a lot of fun, have great stories to tell and so much respect for top-pair, top-kicker that they once proposed to it outside the saloon. Buy them two fingers of sippin’ whiskey, because by the end of the day, they’ll have put your kids through college.
The Internet Warrior
Wearing their hood over a baseball cap which references a video game console you’d probably try to use to heat crumpets, these players are like ninjas. By which we don’t mean by that they’re deadly, but rather covered in loose fabric, uncommunicative and sleep next to a sword they never get a chance to use. Playing online for 99% of their adult life, they can be identified quicker than any other player type thanks to the white glare of chronic zinc-deficiency in each fingernail. If you’re not sure, ask if they like a piece of fruit at the break. Should they look at you like you’re communicating in another language, you’ve struck gold.
Giving off more live tells than an episode of Judge Judy, the Internet Warrior will play off the charts. No, literally! Simply learn the charts, pick your way to beat them and hope they stick to their rigid plan of making calls if they’re +EV even if you’re dancing on your chair singing the theme tune to the old Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut bar advert.
The Nit Grinder
In the 1998 film ‘Rounders’, Joey Knish was the nit grinder. He never did anything special, but he puts his kids through college. Don’t confuse this type with ‘The Reg’ (we’ll talk about them later). Joey Knish is not going to step out of line. All he wants to do is make his baseline money and get out of there. Nit Grinders are the Ayres Rocks of rocks. They play only premium hands, always have it and can often be found at the front of dinner queues at the break. How did they get there so soon? They spent a week in advance plotting the best route from the bathroom to the plate station, because that’s what nits do. And that three-bet they just made when you looked up from this article was with aces or kings. Scratch that, only aces.
This type is becoming more and more prevalent in the game. There will always be someone who wants to control the table. They want to be the most active, but only in terms of VPIP, as they often look they might struggle to run for a bus that was jacked up in the garage they themselves work in. Three-bet, four-bet, peel, float, pas de bourree, button squeeze, it’s all just one big dance to them. They must assert their authority on the other seven players. They can even resort to, and you’ll excuse the term here, metaphorical saddle-swinging. Harsh words, but true.
They’re often found busting out just inside the money in a coinflip for 150 big blinds. Still, no matter, they chug on, stopping off on the way home for fried chicken. Captain’s gotta cap.
Perennially found at buy-ins they consider lower than their true worth to the game, these guys know how to own the trend. Snapback? Gold-trim. Vodka-popular-energy-drink? Theirs is a double, because sleep was something they grew out of the moment they got a backer. Make-up? They’re in the hole like six kids in a Hollywood horror remake. But just because they’re sat in pumps and you’re wearing trainers, they have a three-button grey cardigan on and you’re wearing regular clothes doesn’t mean that you can’t get the better of them. They fancy the high life, so give it to them when you launch them out of the tournament. If you can bust them before nonchalantly producing a home-made sandwich from your careworn knapsack and chomp out a bite while giving them a smile, we’ll buy you an orange squash to celebrate.
Everyone knows this type and they’re not recognizable solely from the poker table. Do you remember the boy from school who the day after Shrove Tuesday would always have to top anyone’s feat of pancake-eating? No-one eats seventeen pancakes and survives the night, we know. Anyway, that kid learned to play poker. He’s always had it worse and won it bigger. So you took down The Jab the night before this tournament for $1,200 from a $5.50 buy-in? They fell asleep twice heads-up on another site and still ‘binked it’ for $1,250. So you were bad beat with quads under quads on that other table? He lost with aces against aces all-in pre-flop. Twice.
Should he win a pot, it’s all skill. Should he lose, it was all bad luck and frankly he’s had enough of it. Are we generalizing by deciding these guys are only men? No. These guys are all boys. Suck out on them, go on. Do everyone a favor.
Aren’t regs annoying? They know when to steal from the blinds, they always three-bet you when you’re weak and when you decide to get frisky and three-bet bluff them, they four-bet own you with a premium hand. They always price it just right, always catch on the river when you let them get there, have that one hand you can never put them on. What’s even worse is that they’re always here, aren’t they? Playing every stop on the tour. You keep seeing them run deeper than you and the pathological need you have for owning them in a pot is bordering on the sequel to Single White Female. What can you do?!
Talk to them. Get to know them away from the table. Respect them, learn from them, and identify with the plays that hurt you and figure out how they do it. Maybe you’ll really get on with them and they’ll be your poker buddy. Then one tournament you’ll realize that four friends ago, you all became friends from that one conversation. You all started running deeper together that day. Others are talking about you now, watching the five of you walk past, silently cursing you. Because you always get there. You four-bet own, steal blinds, always price it exactly right. That’s so annoying. You’re reaching the big payouts and having fun at the same time.
You are… The Reg.
See How Many of These Player Types You Can Find at partypoker Events
With so many live poker events taking place over the coming weeks and months, you have ample opportunity to find all seven of these player types. Head to the Grand Prix Poker Tour at Dusk Till Dawn, the Irish Poker Festival, or event the Caribbean Poker Party and see which of these seven players is sat at your tables.