What are the main Poker Personalities?

Poker is a devilishly tricky game, especially if you are a beginner just starting out and trying to understand how the game is played, as well as how you want to play it. Poker style and personality is of course, not totally uniform. Top players, such as Dan Harrington, can switch up the way they play at the drop of hat and adapt to any situation.

If you are just learning the ropes, it can be good to test out the different most common ‘personalities’ to see what you are comfortable with, what you are good at and what is going to make you more successful. James Altucher once called poker, “a skill game pretending to be a chance game,” and picking a personality is a real skill.

A poker personality is partly down how you decide to play the game but also relates to the attitude you have and the way you think about the cards in your hand. The four main personalities are defined by two key concepts.

Firstly deciding whether to play tight or loose is very important. A tight player will not play with many hands, folding often and then going for it when they sense a real opportunity. This can be great as a beginner as it lowers risk but at the same time it lowers reward. On the flip side you have loose play which involves being willing to play more often, which can pay off or backfire. As a beginner you can try out these two different extremes and see which one suits you.

The next decision is whether to be passive or aggressive, this will define the way you interact with other players. Being tight or loose changes how your view your own cards, being passive or aggressive changes how you play those cards. A passive player will play relatively cautiously going with the flow and will often call rather than raising. They will play slowly and try and read other players before making decisions. Aggressive players on the other hand like to force the issue, they will often raise and try and put pressure on other players. This can work very well by convincing other players to fold or make mistakes but it can also be reckless if you aren’t careful.

Poker personalities then come from combining these two different categories. You have to select if you are going to be tight or loose then passive or aggressive. When you do make sure to take advantage of these free bets to test and hone your skills. The combinations then are tight passive, tight aggressive, loose passive and loose aggressive. Your selection can make and break your game and can take you onto the next level.

A tight passive player will be very cautious and will only go in when they are sure they have a good chance of winning, they might not play many hands but when they do they will be sure of winning. This strategy might make sense as a beginner but as you improve and get better you might want to consider moving away from this personality.

Tight aggressive players are slightly less cautious, even though they might not play so many hands, when they do decide to play they try to pressure other players by raising. They are more confident than tight passive players and more willing to take risk, but they are always calculated risk.

Loose passive players will be more willing to play than tight passive players but have a greater range of hands they would consider worth playing with. They will sit back and let others take risks but will be willing to keep calling when they think they can win. Finally, loose aggressive players are the biggest risk takers, they will be constantly betting and willing to take the game to other players, this might be better for slightly more advanced players.

You can see the importance then of picking the right personality, be sure to try out playing in different ways and enjoy learning and getting better.