With all the changes to the forum, I thought I should wait a couple of days before posting this.
NPR (Will raise a non-premium hand)
An opponent who will raise with a wider range of hands makes it a bit more difficult to put them on a hand. This is primarily the reason you should look for situations that you can also raise some non-premium hands so that you can keep your opponents guessing (more on this in other modules). There are typically three different types of NPR’s, so let’s take a look them.
NPR (maniac) – This opponent will just raise any two from anywhere at any given time quite excessively. These opponents will have little rhyme or reason to what they’re doing, but they believe that this will benefit them when they do have a real hand and can get someone to “stand up” to them with a weaker hand. These opponents will be quite easy to spot and you need to make sure that whenever you have position and a decent hand against them that you are re-raising them. The thing an aggressive opponent hates most is someone who comes back over the top of them.
NPR (fish) – I say this opponent is a fish because they will raise a non-premium hand such as QJ, or KJ, A3o or a similar hand out of position because they just don’t understand hand values or that usually only a better hand will call them. They aren’t really playing to be overly aggressive and outplay opponents, they are just raising because they believe this is the correct thing to do. Against these opponents you just want to make note what hand they raise, what position they were in, and how much the raise was for. In future hands you’ll know that that if you’re in a raised pot against these opponents, the flop texture is much wider for how hard it hit them. So you’ll either have to be cautious, OR make them pay for their weaker hands.
NPR (switch) – These opponents will occasionally switch up their game and incorporate some non premium hands in profitable situations for them. For example they’ll raise a hand like Q9s with the button after a couple of limpers. They may also raise some connected cards in early position, or occasionally re-raise almost any hand from the blinds. Just make note and be aware that you have an opponent that’s capable of making such a play. There’s not much you can do but know that you may want to raise them if they bet into you on the flop (because they could have any two) or back away if they keep firing on a ragged flop. That’s what makes this kind of play difficult to play against, and why it’s something you should look to incorporate in your own game. You won’t run into these opponents that often at small and mid stakes, but you will from time to time.
With any kind of NPR, the first thing to do is just make a note that you saw them raise a non-premium hand. The second identification stage will be to see if they are smart (a switch), not so smart (a fish), or just plain crazy (maniac). The maniac will be noticeable pretty quickly. The other two will be a bit more subtle, so you’ll really have to analyze the situation and decide if the raise made sense considering the circumstance.
LRR (Will limp re-raise big hands)
A good portion of opponents will do this from time to time. There are some opponents who will do this almost always though. This is one of those reads that you need to just make a note of, but of course, if you see anyone limp re-raise from early position, the alarm bells should be going off for you. Nearly all opponents will only do this with big hands. That’s why it’s fun to sometimes do this with a weak hand, or a small pocket pair yourself.
Primarily big pairs include QQ-AA. A lot of opponents will limp this in early position in hopes that someone will raise so they can re-raise, or sometimes even just call and trap their opponents. Some opponents will also mini-raise these big pairs in early position and re-raise. Just make a note, and know that they are prone to make this play so that you can make the appropriate play (which is fold unless you have a big hand yourself). If you happen to see someone do this without a big hand, then you know you have a difficult and thinking opponent, and you’ll want to make a note of that as well.
LA (Look-up artist)
One of my favorite opponents to face is the look up artist. They’re an opponent who will call a flop bet (usually in position) in the hopes that you will check the turn for them so they can steal the pot. This is sometimes also referred to as “floating” the flop. These opponents will not be readily easy to spot, so they take some concerted effort to pinpoint. You’ll have to pay attention to the opponents who are calling a LOT of flop bets, but they’ll fold to a second bullet (or they’ll bet when checked to them nearly always).
Once you believe you have discovered a look up artist, try and exploit their weakness by doing the following:
• If you raise with an unpaired hand before the flop and miss the flop, you can make a standard continuation bet, but try and make it on the smaller side. Then be prepared to fire a second bullet – but make sure that you are always thinking about how the texture of the flop fits your opponent’s hand, and whether you can represent properly the hand you’re trying to represent.
• Secondly if you flop a big hand, make a continuation bet, this time on the slightly larger side, and then check the turn to them (if they have position). If you have two pair or better you can either call their bet on the turn, or if the flop texture has some probable draws or potentially could get ugly, then come in for a nice pot sized check raise. I’d recommend that if you only have top pair to just check and call and then take the lead on the river again by making at least a 1/3 to ½ sized pot bet.
Make sure that if you’ve made these plays more than once against the same opponent that you occasionally mix up your play because they’ll obviously start to become aware of what you’re doing. This is particularly true of how you are sizing your flop bet. If you bet on the light side with your missed hand, and larger with your connected hands, then make sure one time you switch these up. Obviously if opponents are looking to call a lot of bets (particularly in position) on the flop, then they are thinking about the game and what you’re doing. Thinking opponents are aware and may get a read on your play.
A majority of LA’s will be making these plays when they have position on you. Sometimes though there are some really bad LA’s that will do this out of position with almost any two cards (usually with ace high). If you notice that an opponent will also call flop bets out of position, but fold to a turn bet, then make sure you fire second bullets liberally when you have position.
EX5 – Both opponents start with even stacks of 100BB
In the above example an early position limper called the big blind and you picked up AhQh and raised to 5xBB. The player in the Co, a noted LA called the raise. The rest of the table folded including the limper. The flop came: Kd5h9d. You made a continuation bet of 7BB and your opponent called the bet (pot now 25BB). The turn comes the 4c. You should now fire a second bullet. Your opponent won’t have a strong enough hand to continue most of the time. If you’ve been playing a solid tight-aggressive game, then your opponent will have a hard time continuing unless he has a K. Combine this with the fact you know your opponent is a noted LA, and you should attempt firing a second bullet in this spot.
General player type models
The most general way to describe a person’s playing style is to attribute how they play before the flop, and combine that with how they play after the flop. This kind of characterization creates 4 basic player type models. We’re going to look at these 4 basic models and analyze how and why particular player types exhibit certain playing tendencies that we’ve described throughout the article (on the pervious pages).
Loose / Passive
The loose / passive player is typically called a “fish”. These opponents play far too many hands without regard for position, and play them far too passively after the flop. This is the most profitable kind of opponent to play against of course, because they’ll pay off a lot of second best hands, and allow you to draw out on them when they are ahead. You know that if the loose/passive bets or raises, then you’re nearly always beat, so they make the game very easy to play against them.
Most common attributes of a loose / passive: ATC – FC – SOOT - CRW
How to play against these opponents: Raise pre-flop to isolate – Anytime you have position on a loose / passive you want to raise with a somewhat wider range of hands than normal in order to buy yourself position and hopefully see a flop heads up with them. Since these types of opponents are generally the weakest and make the most mistakes after the flop, it only makes sense that you’ll want to do your best to play the most pots against them.
Value bet marginal hands– Make thin value bets against the loose / passive on the river. This doesn’t mean that if you hold top pair and a marginal kicker to always bet, but definitely bet a top pair and top kicker or better hands if it appears there’s a decent chance your opponent has some piece of the flop. loose / passive’s commonly call down with very weak holdings, so you need to take advantage of this by betting at every given opportunity. Beware that because they are so passive that a lot of times when most opponents would be raising with strong hands they only call. Sometimes you’ll run into big hands that you wouldn’t expect seeing. Don’t however let this slow you down.
Fold if they raise or bet – Since these opponents are so passive, if they show any signs of aggression they tend to have a big hand. Don’t continue in the hand unless you have a very big hand yourself.
Implied odds are very high – Since loose / passives tend to overplay very marginal hands, drawing hands such as suited connectors go up high in value. Your overall implied odds are generally higher against this type of opponent than any other player. So look for situations where you have position and a good drawing hand.
Bet and raise – If you have a strong hand, make sure to get as much money into the pot as possible by betting or raising. There’s no need to get tricky with your hand.
How not to play against these opponents:
Don’t Bluff – Loose / passive opponents like to call. They’ll call with King high and they’ll call with bottom pair without much regard for the action. Save your bluffs for opponents who have a higher ability to fold. This doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally semi-bluff, but keep your bluff to a bare minimum.
Don’t get “fancy” – Play your hands in a straight forward manner. There’s no need for deception of any fancy plays against these opponents. It will be completely lost on them, so just bet your hand for value, re-raise and bet when appropriate.
Loose / Aggressive
The loose and aggressive opponent can at times be the most difficult opponent to play against. Since they are loose with their starting hand selection before the flop it’s hard to tell if a flop hit their hand or not. They follow this up by being very aggressive after the flop, and it can put you into situations where you’ll be making difficult decisions. In any form of poker you want to continually apply the pressure to your opponents and force them into difficult decisions, while making as few difficult decisions as possible for yourself.
At small and medium stakes, there are very few really good loose and aggressive opponents. Some opponents that you’ll face in this category will range all the way from the total lunatic maniac (who will raise with any two cards and bluff off all his chips with 6 high) to the fairly tricky loose and aggressive player that has some hand reading skills. You’ll have to quickly deduce what kind of opponent you’re up against and make the correct adjustments against them. Typically you’ll just want to sit back and set some traps for the maniac and let them give you their chips. While the “trickier” player you’ll want to play back at them occasionally by applying the pressure back on them.
I'll come back and post the rest when I have more time.
I think you deserve more comments, as this is one of the most practical guides to improve ones(read: my) game. Props to you! I really am lazy too often and I don't have a system for making notes. Yours makes sense. I only read it once yet, but I believe I don't have any negative comments to make. Can't wait for part 3 to arrive! Keep up the good work, mister.