Every Texas Hold ’em table is a unique microcosm of the gambling world. No two tables are created equal. Types of personalities present at each table may vary from day-to-day.
However, over consistent playing time, you will probably begin to notice similarities between players, regardless of your game’s location or price point.
While several playing styles and personality types are commonly discussed in the gambling community, I am going to deviate from the norm. The well-known classifications include loose-passive, loose-aggressive, tight-passive, and tight-aggressive players.
In this post, I’m going to break down personality types that even novice Hold ’em players will be able to recognize. Here are the 7 types of Texas Hold ’em players you’ll run into at the tables.
1 ‒ The Beginner
If you’re a novice poker player, then you’ll most likely fall into this category. Beginners are quick to inform you about their inexperience, making them easy targets for more advanced players.
Gamblers who are new to Hold ’em routinely commit rookie mistakes. They’re unaware of table etiquette and play rule.
Beginner poker players should never admit their naivete, especially if there is money on the line. Whereas it’s okay, to be honest, to table mates in table games like blackjack, it’s preferable to keep it to yourself. In other table games, gamblers are playing against the casino, but you’re competing against the players sitting next to you in Hold ’em.
To spot a beginner, focus on their tendencies around the table. Most new players have blatant tells when gambling. They’ll waver in their decision making.
Some will even go as far as playing out of turn or fumbling with their moves. For more advanced players, spotting them is a piece of cake, and they provide a perfect opportunity to cash in on some easy hands.
2 ‒ The Bluffer
Picking out the habitual bluffer is slightly more complicated, but not much as time will weed out the players who continuously bluff on hands. In the early stages of a game, you may notice someone playing multiple hands in a row. They are typically overly aggressive in the early stages as they try to secure a few pots without having the cards to back it up.
Typically someone who bluffs isn’t a high caliber player, and once you have them on the ropes, they will most likely begin to make mistakes and reveal their true playing style.
Once you’ve figured out someone’s ploy, it’s easy to progress through the game as you could also read their poker tells on subsequent hands. Players who bluff more than a handful of times during a Hold ’em game don’t typically last too long, so if you can pick them apart, their chips are as good as yours.
3 ‒ The Consistent Old-School Player
Older players are typically more calm, cool, and collected and might play a bit more conservatively than other players. These people have been playing Hold ’em for decades and have seen nearly every single scenario unfold.
Old-school players can often be found chewing on a cigar while sipping scotch while they gamble. They’re friendly enough but mostly keep to themselves. When it comes to the quality of play, they’re among the better players. They’ll typically place in the top three, which is okay with them.
Most of their moves are carefully calculated, and mistakes are few and far between. It’s impossible to read them, and they can sniff out a bluffer from a mile away. Newer players should take some notes from this type of player.
4 ‒ The Trash Talker
These players are more commonly found around tables at casual poker nights with friends. Occasionally one makes themselves known in the casinos.
Trash talkers are typically more aggressive players who can usually be found with a drink by their side. Instead of relying on their inherent skills, they attempt to get into their fellow players’ minds to throw off their games.
These players love talking at the poker table, are easy to spot, and can be a pain to play against. Over time, you’ll ignore their banter until they are no more than a minor nuisance. Most trash talk is relatively harmless, although once a player like this starts to lose, the comments can become toxic.
Once they can see they’re getting to you, they won’t stop until one of you exits the table. Whatever you do, don’t give them the time of day and try your best to ignore them.
5 ‒ The Loose Cannon
More often than not, you’ll play against what’s known in the poker community as a maniac. Maniacs are one of the most challenging types of players to compete against due to their unpredictability. Spotting them is simple, but outlasting them is another story entirely.
To take down a loose cannon, someone at the table has to match their bets and beat them. Once again, this ploy is risky and can be expensive, but it’s a necessary evil.
If you have the misfortune of facing a player like this, do not bluff against them and try to hang around long enough to see them be sent home. Don’t let their tactics fool you; at the end of the day, they’re not great poker players.
6 ‒ The Savant
This type of Hold ’em player, otherwise known as a perfect player, incorporates all the best aspects of Texas Hold ’em strategy into one. From the moment you start playing, it will seem as though they know exactly what you have every hand. They’re able to read the room and determine what type of player you are even before you start playing.
They lack a consistent playing style because they alter it based on the other gamblers who stay in any given hand. Every move is calculated, and they have absolutely no tell.
The savant rarely, if ever, makes mistakes, and even if you think you have them figured out, you probably don’t.
At the end of the game, this type of player will most likely be walking away with the prize money, and there’s nothing you can do about it. As a newer gambler stuck playing against someone like this, make it a learning opportunity and realize there’s always room to grow as a player and improve your game.
7 ‒ The Ultra-Conservative Gambler
Otherwise known as a “nit,” the ultra-conservative Hold ’em player rarely plays hands. At some point during the game, you might feel inclined to ask them why they showed up in the first place.
Nits fold almost every single hand, even if it doesn’t make sense based on position.
Over time their stack of chips will slowly recede to nothingness, and this type of player is typically one of the first to get bounced from the table.
Real money Texas Hold ’em is one of the best games in the casino to get to know various gamblers. During any given game, you can come across a different type of gambler.
While there are always some outliers in the gambling world, there is some consistency with Hold ’em players’ classifications.
The easiest types to spot are newbies and bluffers. Both of these types pose no real threat to serious players, and the more seasoned gamblers should be able to pick them apart in a matter of minutes.
Other types, like the loose cannons and trash talkers, are a bit harder to deal with. Hope and pray that you don’t get stuck playing against either type.
While both the trash talker and loose cannon are a challenge to deal with, they are relatively harmless to your wallet compared to the Hold ’em savant.
As I said, if you’re new to the game and find yourself playing against someone who seemingly makes no wrong plays, take some notes and implement some of their moves into your game.