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Introduction to Kinds of Poker Players

Live Player

This is the player who plays live games but does not have much tournament experience. This player is likely to play a tournament just like it was a live game. If they are aggressive in live games, they will be the same here. The problem for aggressive players is chips. This type of player usually plans for three or more buy-ins in a live game. In a tournament, when you're out of chips, you're out of the tournament. The aggressive live player will bust out soon or build up lots of chips and could win. The problem for rocks in a tournament is they play so conservatively that they never build up enough chips to really be competitive. Against the aggressive live players, only play hands where you are the favorite. Against rock live players, you can win some pots with a semi-bluff and occasionally with an outright bluff.

Casual Player

Many players who enter small tournaments are not regular poker players. The buy-in is small enough and the payoff big enough that they are willing to take a shot. These players have almost no chance of winning. They make a lot of mistakes and you can spot them very quickly. Just play solid poker against them, and you will win.

Big-Limit Player

Many of the players who regularly play pot limit and 20/40 and above will enter tournaments just as a break. They consider the entry fee as loose change, and it is no big deal to lose it. They would like the payoff at the end, but are playing more fore ego. These players like to gamble and will bluff much more than any other players. You can slow play these types and get big payoffs. There's not much in between for these players, they either get busted out early, or you will see them at the final table.

Tournament Player Many players focus more on tournaments, and you rarely see them in a live game. They know the strategy, how to play the players, how to manage the stack, when to lay down a big hand because making it to the next level is more important than winning that particular hand. Your best bet against these players is to stay out of their way and let one of the aggressive or big-limit players bust them out.

Solid Player

This is the player who has lots of both live and tournament experience. They play a strong tight-aggressive live game and know how to alter their game for a tournament. They are the players I fear most. They will not make many mistakes, and you had better not make any against them. You just have to be careful and hope you get better cards, flops, and opportunities than they do.


We know how important position is in poker. It is important in tournaments also, but being first to act, especially if you have a large stack, is sometimes better than being last to act. Middle position is the worst. If you are first, and it is late in the tournament, and you can bet enough to put your opponents all-in before the flop, you are forcing them to make a big decision. The correct decision, even if they have a good hand, is sometimes to fold because staying alive is more important than winning the pot.


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