Everybody has their own way to play poker and it can be as individual as the person themselves. Some players have made their name by taking outrageous risks, such as Archie Karas, others have ground their way through the tables and played over many years to earn themselves a reputation as a world class poker talent and Daniel Negreanu is a good example of this. Others have poker fame cast upon them instantly from relative obscurity by winning a major tournament, like Chris Moneymaker.
What is certainly true is that there are as many ways to play poker as there are people playing it. Having said that, poker isn’t the most complicated of games and you do only have a limited choice of options on what you can do at each point of the hand. So, it is relatively easy to band players together into different but broad categories.
Now the great thing about online poker is that there are so many variations of the game available, from Cash Table games that you can spend, even days playing in against a number of opponents that come and go, to Multi Table Tournaments featuring thousands of players, to small sided Sit & Go games that feature just two or three players other than yourself and which can be over in minutes.
The key to you enjoying more success playing online poker is recognising he different skills that each of these different forms of poker requires and then having an honest appraisal of how you like to play the game. If you are accurate with that, then you can start to play the games that will most benefit your style of play and which are more likely to result in you landing more wins at the tables.
What type of poker player am I?
Before we can tell you what type of games you should target, you need to be honest with yourself about what type of poker player you are. If you are a novice player, then you are not as likely to win as a more experienced player regardless of how you prefer to play, simply because you are likely to make more mistakes. So, the first key element here is your experience level. The more you have, then the better it will be for you.
Allied to that is your general poker attitude. Are you a player who is cautious by nature and tends to make smaller raises, call or perhaps fold when you feel the odds are not in your favour? Or are you a player that likes to take more risks, play more hands and who always wants to be involved in the action, even if that means you have to bet big and bluff your way some of the time?
Now, although most poker texts will say a player that plays often and bluffs often is the wrong way to play, in some online games, these skills can actually be of benefit to you. The key is to correctly identify which type of player you are and then target the games you want to play and which you feel will best fit your poker style.
Alternatively, if you play one way and want to play at a different table, you can modify your poker techniques to try and play in a way that will offer you a better chance of success at the tables. This does sound a little “up in the air’ at the moment, so let’s now start looking at some concrete examples of exactly what we mean.
What games suit specific types of poker player?
Let’s now take a look at some of the most common and popular forms of poker you can play online and identify which player type tends to have the most success at that particular format of the game:
Although some experts will say that the greater the stakes you play for at the Cash Tables, then there will be differences in how you approach the game, I am taking a more general approach and view here and looking at cash table play as a whole, from micro-stakes tables, right up to the higher roller games.
In my view, Cash Table game play is all about patience and profit. So for that, you need a player who is generally a cautious player, who will play only when the odds are in their favour and who will play the right hands at the right time and perhaps more crucially, be able to fold the right hand at the right time in the face of another player bettering their hand.
A crucial skill to develop for cash table players is the ability to read opponents. Your mindset at the table isn’t to eliminate them, but to simply build up your bankroll. As such, there’s no time limit on play and no prize to win other that the profit you seek to make. Therefore, a tight, aggressive player who plays the right hands strongly, will defend the pot at the right time and who knows when, and perhaps more critically, who to bluff, will likely do well at the Cash Tables whatever the stakes.
Multi Table Tournaments
The first mistake people make with multi-table tournaments is to start off way too aggressively. Success in multi-table tournaments in the main (apart from some Bounty Hunter-style events) isn’t about knocking opponents out of the event, but keeping yourself in the event until you reach a position where you qualify for a cash prize, or whatever other prize is on offer.
This ultra-aggressive start is very obvious in cheaper events where often players will go all-in during the first few hands in the hope of building stacks and getting lucky to put themselves in a strong chip position early in the tournament. You tend to find this happens less and less the more expensive that the tournament gets to buy into.
A better strategy is to keep yourself in an event while all these crazy early rounds of betting are happening and then when things settle down, then start to make your plays. Aggressive players will still be around and if you take them on when you hold the better cards, your chances of success improve a great deal and far less is down to chance.
Again a tight-aggressive player does well here, but it is also someone who knows when to make a strong move to put an opponent in a bind. Pick your fights wisely, target players who really won’t want to take you on unless they have the nuts and you can pick up lots of easy chips and pots that way. The key to MTT success is cashing out and that requires patience and solid play throughout the tournament, not just a few big pot wins at the start.
Sit & Go Games
Sit & Go games are generally shorter stack games with smaller amounts of money on the table and as such, these games tend to be tipped in favour of players that are more aggressive and who are not afraid to get their chips into the middle.
Less aggressive players can struggle in these games in the face of almost relentless aggression, so adopting an aggressive play mode is always a good idea, but it has to be controlled, focused and more importantly, realistic aggression.
By that, if you go all in or bet big on every hand, it won’t take long for someone to get a big hand and then likely eliminate you from the game. So what you want to do is be aggressive often, but at the right times and against the right player. Picking your fights with players with fewer chips than you is a simple, but effective strategy at times.