When you first sit down at the felt and look around at your opponents, it can be intimidating. In fact, some compare playing poker, specifically Texas Hold’em, to going to battle. Players wear physical armor in the form of low-lying hats, dark sunglasses, headphones and mesmerizing clothing. Then there are weapons to contend with, which are mainly the various techniques and styles of play your opponents demonstrate. Understanding these weapons can help you exploit the other players at the table and just might assist you in finding your own style, as well. The following names are not made up. They are well known titles in the poker community for players that describe a certain style of play. Read up and learn, then shuffle up and deal. Good luck.
This term is used to negatively describe someone who consistently calls bets and rarely raises, regardless of the strength of his/her hand. Calling stations are sometimes rewarded for their poor play by lucky cards that come on the board, often encouraging unskilled players to overestimate their skill level.
This is the player who plays K5 suited and can’t lay down the K when it hits, no matter how many people are in the pot. They play any two suited cards, and any Ace, and can’t fold any of them if they hit a flop. They whine constantly about being out-kicked, and can’t understand why they have such “bad luck.”
The polar opposite of a Calling Station is the Nit or Rock, a player who is unwilling to take risks and plays only premium hands in the top range. The Nit is content to sit back and wait for ultra-premium hands, and will blind himself into oblivion if necessary. He plays nothing but Aces, Kings, Queens, and sometimes, AK. If you’re ever re-raised by a Nit, you know they have something really, really good. You can safely fold hands up to, and including, QQ. I have heard Nits referred to as “Old White ‘n’ Tight,” as well.
A person with little know-how or intelligence that is completely unwilling to learn more on their own. The difference between a Noob and a Newbie: A Newbie is often someone who has enthusiasm and intelligence, but absolutely no experience and are often guilty of simply being naive. A noob on the other hand is someone with a woeful amount of mental acumen that is completely unwilling to try and learn something for themselves.
Maniacs are characterized as such because they will play almost every hand, and raise or re-raise with any two cards. This type of player can be on tilt, drunk, or simply having a good time by creating a lot of action.
It may sound easy to play against a maniac, but they pose a serious threat to your game because they are extremely aggressive and will really test you, adding many swings to your bankroll. Often times, a maniac can virtually put the entire table on tilt, thus creating a very profitable situation for the player who remains calm and applies the correct strategies.
Mr. ABC Poker
ABC Poker is a term referred to a way of playing “by the book” without any sophistication and in a straightforward manner. ABC Poker is typically played by a player who outranks a complete novice (or a Noob). They know to raise 3x the big blind and all about blind structure, when to shove when short stacked and other elementary play. ABC Poker is not, however, a compliment to be given and generally is associated with a player who can be exploited through aggression.
Five years ago, ABC poker was undoubtedly a winning strategy, and even today – if you find the right game – it can certainly be profitable. However, in most tournaments and cash games these days, playing ABC poker will leave you break-even or worse.
The Coffee Houser
Talking in an attempt to mislead other players about the strength of a hand is known as coffee housing. For example, a player holding AA as their first two cards might say, “Let’s gamble here,” implying a much weaker holding. Coffee housing is considered bad etiquette in the UK, but not in the United States.
These are the craftiest players. A shark is good at every aspect of the game and can adjust his play to all of the above types of players. Sharks are very hard to sit with because you can never REALLY get a read on them. You may find yourself frequently asking questions like,”What is he betting?” or “Does he have it?” They have unlimited restraint when it comes to betting on a good hand in order to allow somebody else to think they have the best hand. These guys know how to read others and know exactly how to look and bet like they have a bad hand or are chasing.
Sharks are also good at drawing as much money out of a hand as they can, especially when involved with aggressive players. These guys are the worst enemy of any aggressive player because of the toughness of getting a read on them. A Shark may catch three of a kind aces on the flop and check, just to draw another player into betting so that they can either A) raise them, B) continue their play, acting as if they have a weak hand and meekly calling, or C) fold (if they have plenty of chips) in order to mislead other players as to how they play. Then they will show the table and say something like, “I KNOW you have the straight,” simply to make other players think that they are Rocks (passive post-flop) or easy to get out of a hand, and therefore setting it up for them to bluff beautifully in the future.