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Ten Types of Poker Players

By Dwight Voughn
Published on April 01, 2018
Poker Player Throwing Playing Cards with a Stack of Poker Chips in the Background

For the last 20 years, I’ve played a boatload of poker. Over that extended period, I’ve sat at tables with hundreds of different players. However, it occurred to me many years ago that there always seems to be the same types of players at my games. Once I discovered this, I then adjusted my game strategy to play differently against these players.

By reading this blog, you’ll learn how to identify these common types of poker players. In addition, you’ll be able to use my insight on how I successfully play against them to help improve your game. By the time you finish reading this page, you’ll be better equipped for your next round of poker. Now, let’s get to it!

Below, I’ve compiled details on the top ten types of poker players that I’ve come across in my years at the table. As you scan through this section, you should begin to picture players that you have come across in your poker adventures that fit some of these descriptions. You’ll now have a better understanding of how they play and how you can play against them.

Loosey McGoosey

Up first, let’s talk about the poker player type Loosey McGoosey. Most likely, you’ve come across this player plenty of times in your poker adventures. For this player, they tend to play extraordinarily loose and are the complete opposite of another player type that I’ll discuss later, Whitey McTighty.

Typically, Loosey McGoosey types will play almost anything. Their range of starting hands is about as broad as a Los Angeles freeway. Seriously, these guys are not picky. It’s very hard to put them on what hand they might have since their starting range of hands is so broad.

Another common trait of this type of poker player is their betting style. Instead of calculating exact wagers, Loosey McGoosey types will often just move out a stack of chips or toss a handful out there. Usually, there is no rhyme or reason to their bets. It just happens to be what they grabbed at that time.

Being such a loose player can have its drawbacks. If the player isn’t a good poker player, they can often end up running out of chips early, since they ended up playing too many hands that they probably shouldn’t have. If you’re a Loosey McGoosey player, consider making your range of starting hands a bit more concise. By doing this, you’ll hopefully end up keeping more of your chips by playing more quality starting hands.

How to Play Against Loosey McGoosey

When you’re playing a Loosey McGoosey type of poker player, consider these tips.

  • Remember that their range of hands is massive. Because of this, they could easily have AA or 2/7 offsuit.
  • Often, Loosey McGoosey types will be drawing in the hope of hitting a straight or flush. If you see that the board is close to one of these, keep this in mind.
  • Loosey McGoosey poker players will often just bet to bet. Sometimes, they’ll do this when they have absolutely nothing. Be prepared to protect your hand, but also remember that they might have lucked out and hit on an ugly-looking board.

The Rulebook

I’m not a big fan of this next type of poker player. I’m sure you’ve all run across this player type from time to time. When it comes to The Rulebook, that’s precisely what they are. Seemingly non-stop, The Rulebook spouts out all of the things that every other player at a home game is doing wrong.

Nothing ruins a fun home game like The Rulebook can. At every available opportunity, this type of player prominently announces where someone messed up. They love to use terms such as “at the casino…” or “Rule 8.9b states that….” This individual feels that they must fill the rest of us in on how we’re messing up. It is so annoying.

There are a handful of drawbacks if you’re The Rulebook type. For one, you’re going to manage to piss off tons of people if you are continually quoting rules the entire game. Secondly, continued rule quoting might get you banned from home games if it continues and the host asks you to leave. Finally, you just look like an asshole if you’re The Rulebook, and nobody should want to be that guy.

How to Play Against The Rulebook

If you’re unfortunate enough to be seated with The Rulebook type, be sure to consider the following tips.

  • If possible, just try to ignore them. This is often much easier said than done. However, I have found that by letting them get under my skin, my focus on the game itself drops. In turn, I often play worse than I would have without the distraction of The Rulebook.
  • Whenever possible, try not to confront The Rulebook. Most likely, if you’re annoyed, then others at the game are in the same boat. Someone will eventually say something to them. However, I try to avoid the confrontation myself so that I can continue to work on winning the game or tournament.
  • If The Rulebook is a regular attendee at a home game you attend, consider saying something in private to the host about how annoying their actions are. I’ve had success before in working with a host to help correct or remove this type of player from a home game. Ultimately, it’s their home and their rules that drive the game.

Whitey McTighty

I’m a big fan of playing against this next type of poker player. If you’re up against a Whitey McTighty type, then you’re playing someone who plays very tightly. Due to the nature of how tight they play, it can often be easy to read this player.

When playing very tight, this type of poker player usually doesn’t bet unless they have something good going on. Often, you’ll only see this type of player bet when they have a large starting hand or a strong made hand. Using this knowledge, you can avoid going against them if you’re chasing a draw or working with a weaker hand.

If you’re a Whitey McTighty yourself, there are some flaws in your game. The main one is that if you’re always playing super tight, you might not have enough chips to make it to the end. In many cases, you have to take some risks with bluffs or big draws in order to go deep in tournaments. Consider loosening up a bit from time to time to change up your game a little so that you’re not always playing super tight.

How to Play Against Whitey McTighty

When you’re playing a Whitey McTighty individual, be sure to keep the following tips in mind.

  • More often than not, if Whitey McTighty is betting, they have a made hand.
  • In general, this type doesn’t bluff much, if any. For this reason, unless you have a made hand, I’d suggest not going head to head against Whitey McTighty when they are betting.
  • You can usually read into the starting hands of these players if they are betting pre-flop. If you see a starting raise of 3x the big blind, then they most likely have a strong starting hand such as aces, queens, or kings.

The Poker Stud

While I wish that I could say that I am this type of poker player, I, unfortunately, am not. The Poker Stud type is the guy that is good at poker. I mean really good. More often than not, this guy is finishing with a cash finish in whatever game or tournament he is playing.

If you play in a home game on a regular basis as I do, then you probably know of a Poker Stud or two in that group. I respect these guys, as they are excellent poker players. In all honesty, I work to watch what they do as often as possible to learn from them. Since they are on a different level than I am, I’m happy to see what I can pick up to help improve my own game.

Luckily for the players that fit into this type of poker player, there are not any drawbacks to being this poker type. The Poker Studs are the top of the food chain in the poker world. They are there to help the rest of us transition our money to them by the end of the night thanks to their skillful mastery of poker.

How to Play Against The Poker Stud

When you end up playing a Poker Stud, keep the following tips in mind.

  • These guys are outstanding poker players. Therefore, you need to respect their play and remember that they are most likely not playing randomly. Everything they do has a reason.
  • These players are often equally as likely to play a mega hand or make a big bluff at a pot. Since they are so good at playing the game, it is often nearly impossible for you to discern which of the two options it is.
  • If you can, do as I do, and try to learn from these guys by watching their play. This is especially good to do when you’ve folded out of a hand. That allows you the ability to closely view how they play their game.

The Chameleon

If you come across this type of poker player, then you’re going to have a challenge. The Chameleon poker player type is continually changing things up, which makes it very difficult to get a read on what they are doing at any given point. Unlike some of the other poker types that continuously play things the same way, The Chameleon is ever changing.

Currently, this is the type of poker player that I would classify myself as. While I used to be a Traps McGee type (which I’ll cover below), I then changed my game up in an effort to help throw off my competitors. Sometimes, I’ll play very tight. Other times, I’ll make big bluffs or set a trap. The goal here is to keep your fellow players guessing what you might be doing at that time.

For Chameleons, there are not a ton of drawbacks. Thanks to their mixing-up style, other players will have a hard time knowing what they are up to. Other than The Poker Stud that I discussed just above, The Chameleon is probably one of the best types of poker players to be.

How to Play Against The Chameleon

Keep these tips in mind when you’re playing The Chameleon.

  • You’ll need to be cautious with this type of player. Since they change their game so much, they might be bluffing big, or they might have the nuts. Unless you’re on a monster hand yourself, I’d be cautious.
  • Pay attention to their physical tells. While they might continuously change their game up, they might have some physical tells (breathing, pulse, etc.) that could aid you in determining when they are bluffing versus when they have a huge hand.

The Donator

Man, oh man, do I love this type of poker player! And unless you’re this type of poker player yourself, then you probably love them, too. Without this type of poker player, the rest of us don’t make any money. You see, The Donator is the poker player that is always losing. More often than not, he’s walking away empty-handed at the end of the night. His loss is our gain.

In my opinion, there are two types of people that make up The Donator class of poker players. The first one is the players that actually don’t know how to play the game well or just aren’t that good at poker. The second type in this group is the player that can be good here and there but isn’t consistent. Often, this person is out more for the fun of playing as opposed to trying to win the game or tournament.

The drawback to being The Donator type should be pretty obvious. If you’re this type of poker player, you’re donating your funds to the rest of the players on a regular basis. This means that you’re losing money pretty often. As long as you’re having fun and you’re not hurting yourself financially, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can try to work on improving your poker game so that you find yourself placing in the money more often in the future.

How to Play Against The Donator

If you’re sharing a table with The Donator poker player type, be sure to remember the following tips.

  • Due to their track record, it’s often safe to assume that you’ll be able to outplay The Donator types. Even if you don’t have the best hand, you might be able to bluff them off of an okay one.
  • The Donator types sometimes don’t know how to bet a hand. Therefore, take all of their wagers with a grain of salt. They might be betting on nothing, or they could not be betting when they have a decent hand.
  • Keep in mind that even a blind squirrel still finds a nut from time to time. While they may lose most hands and games, they can sometimes wake up with a monster hand. Just be sure to keep this in mind so that you don’t always assume you’re going to win against The Donator.

The Sleeper

While rare, it’s worth talking about this type of poker player. When it comes to The Sleeper, I’m talking about a player that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone with their performance. However, the big difference between this player and The Poker Stud is that The Sleeper isn’t consistently good, but he has his moments here and there.

At my regular local home game, we have a couple of Sleepers in the bunch. These are guys that nine times out of ten end up getting knocked out before the final table. However, on the rare occasion, they actually play a good game. I’m not talking about luck. Instead, these guys appear to remember how to play good poker once in a blue moon and end up performing well that evening.

The drawback to being a Sleeper is that they are not consistently winning. Somewhere, deep inside, they have the ability to play good poker. However, when they don’t bring their A game all the time, they end up being all over the place with results.

How to Play Against The Sleeper

If you come across The Sleeper in a poker game, consider the following tips.

  • On most nights, The Sleeper is going to play weak If you can tell they are in poor poker mode, you can be a bit more aggressive against them, knowing that you can probably beat them. Treat them much like you would a newer poker player.
  • However, on the night that they are on fire, watch out! If they are in solid playing mode that evening, treat them like you would The Poker Stud. You’ll want to respect their bets and actions.

Frank the Tank

If you’ve ever seen the 2003 film Old School, then the odds are that you remember the character Frank the Tank. For those of you that haven’t see that film, do yourself a favor and watch it, as it’s a classic. Anyways, in the movie, Frank the Tank is an average dude until he begins drinking. Once he’s got a good buzz going, he turns into a completely different individual. In the case of the movie, Frank the Tank ends up streaking naked through a college campus after drinking too much one night, despite the fact that he’s usually a very mellow individual.

It seems that at almost every poker game I attend, there’s at least one Frank the Tank. Early on in the night, you won’t have a clue unless you know this individual is prone to this type of behavior. Things will start typically, and then you’ll watch as their behavior and poker skills take a turn for the worse as the drinks kick in. All of a sudden, you’ll ask yourself if that’s the same person that you met at the beginning of the night, since their behavior and mannerisms are so different.

In many cases, Frank the Tank players are excellent poker players when they’re sober. However, I’ve watched time and time again as they begin making poor poker choices as they drink more throughout the evening. This is especially true in my monthly neighborhood poker game where it isn’t unusual to have one of the players streaking before the night is over. However, this same individual is super mild-mannered whenever he isn’t drinking loads of alcohol.

In short, Frank the Tank types are essentially a poker version of Jekyll and Hyde. On one side of them, you have the average player that doesn’t stick out from the rest of the bunch. On the other hand, an absolute drunk and unpredictable beast is lurking.

If you’re a Frank the Tank type, then you might be losing out on making money compared to what you would have done when you are not toasted. As I mentioned above, I’ve seen plenty of fantastic poker players that end up pissing away their stack once the sauce has kicked in. Consider easing off the alcohol a bit if you want to retain more control during your poker games. Hopefully, this will help you make less poor decisions.

How to Play Against Frank the Tank

If you’re up against a Frank the Tank type, use the following tips to your advantage.

  • Once they’re in full-on Frank the Tank drunk mode, they are a real wild card. They might have the nuts, or they might have absolute Distinguishing most of the time is tough. Because of this, you’ll want to be cautious with the hand you’ll go against them in.
  • Frank the Tanks often over-bet pots. This stems from the fact that they are drunk and not doing standard math in their head. If pots are getting significant due to their actions, you’ll want only to be playing with solid hands, as it could get expensive quickly.
  • I’ve often found that many of them are super honest when in full drunk mode. For example, I have one player that’s this type poker player and tends to verbalize what he frequently has. More often than not, he’s actually telling the truth. If you notice this trend, use it to your advantage.

Captain Aggressive

Up next, we have one of my least favorite poker player types, Captain Aggressive. I’m sure you’re already picturing someone in your head that fits this bill. If you’re not, then perhaps you’re Captain Aggressive yourself. For this type of poker player, aggression is the name of the game. These players push other players non-stop. Captain Aggressive is always relentlessly betting into other players.

With Captain Aggressive, there is no such thing as a free card. While everyone else around the table is happy to check and see the next card, Captain Aggressive steps in to make sure that everyone pays to stick around. Continually betting, even when they have nothing, is a sure trademark of Captain Aggressive.

If you’re the Captain Aggressive type, there is one major drawback. If you’re constantly betting regardless of the quality of your own hand, you’ll eventually get called by someone that has you beat. While it’s easy to push people around on a regular basis, eventually someone will call you and take your chips. If this happens too often, you’ll be knocked out of the game or tournament.

How to Play Against Captain Aggressive

Use these tips below when you identify that you’re playing against a Captain Aggressive type.

  • Unless you have a big hand made or developing, it’s probably best to stay away from Captain Aggressive as much as possible. With their constant betting, chasing a draw will get extremely expensive.
  • If you do have a solid hand, allow them to do the betting for you. Due to their aggressive nature, they will continue to bet into. Then, on the river, come back over the top of them and see if you can get them to call even more chips.

Traps McGee

Last, but definitely not least, is Traps McGee. When it comes to this type of poker player, they are always lurking and waiting for the chance to trap a fellow player. Typically, Traps McGee types won’t raise bets and instead will check or flat call until the very end of the hand. Their goal is to bait people in and get them comfortable thinking that the water’s just fine. However, this type of poker player is hoping that you sense weakness and bet into them. The problem is that when Traps McGee sets his trap, he’s usually on a big hand that’s likely to win the pot.

As a matter of fact, I used to be a Traps McGee in my early poker days. No matter how monster my starting hand or developed hand was, I was always setting a trap and waiting for someone else to bet into my hand. Then, if all worked according to plan, I would come back over the top after the river and hopefully get a call to win the pot.

After a few years of being Traps McGee, I came to realize the flaws of being this type of poker player. For example, if you start with a big starting hand like AA, KK, or AK, you are asking for trouble if you don’t raise pre-flop. While it is great to act like you don’t have a mega hand, if you don’t pre-raise flop, it leaves the door open for folks with junk cards to stick around cheaply. By doing this, it allows them the chance to potentially catch something on you that they otherwise would have missed out on had you adequately priced them out of the hand from the get-go.

We’ve all been there before, I’m assuming. You wake up with AA for your hole cards. All of a sudden, your blood starts racing, as you’ve got the best starting hand in poker. Instead of pre-flop raising, you decide to flat call and act like you’ve got something just so-so in your hand. However, you get to the end of the hand thinking you apparently have to be the winner. The problem is that someone that stuck around while it was cheap managed to catch a straight, two pair, or something else to beat you. All too often, aces and other strong starting hands get cracked.

How to Play Against Traps McGee

When playing against a Traps McGee type, I would suggest that you keep the following tips in mind.

  • Be careful with this type of player. Since they tend to trap a ton, it can be hard to judge if they are on a monster hand or just playing an average hand.
  • If you bet into them and they come back over the top, take a moment to really think about it. If the player is not prone to bluff, then they probably have you beat, and you should consider folding.

Summary

So, which one of these poker types are you? I’d make sure to take a few moments to figure out where you stand in this list of the top 10 types of poker players. By identifying where you honestly stand, you might be able to help improve your game. Keep in mind that if other players are able to mark you as one of these poker types, they’ll be able to cater their game against you. Your goal should be to improve your game and regularly change things up to keep folks on their toes.

My hope is that this blog will also aid you as you play other players.

Using my guidance above, you can determine how to play against these types of poker players once you’ve identified where they stand.

Using this information can be extremely helpful in regular home games where you’re used to playing the same players. Over time, you can pay attention and determine where your fellow players lie. Thanks for reading the blog, and best of luck in all of your future poker games!

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Ten Types of Poker Players
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Ten Types of Poker Players
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In this blog, I’ll discuss each of these player types in detail so you can learn how to better play against them. By the time you finish reading this page, you’ll be better equipped for your next round of poker.
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