The Player Types (An excerpt from “Dynamic Full Ring Poker”) – by James “SplitSuit” Sweeney

There are effectively six player types in poker. Nit, tight aggressive (TAG), loose aggressive (LAG), Aggressive Fish (A-Fish), Passive Fish (P-Fish), and unknown players. Let’s quickly review them:

·  Nit.• These are super tight players. They generally have very tight VPIPs (VPIP is a stat that measures how often a player voluntarily puts money into the pot pre-flop) and low PFRs (PFR is a stat that measures how often a player raises pre-flop). Nits are notorious for only getting involved in large pots with the nuts or the effective nuts. They are usually straight forward and understand position, but don’t attack much when stealing or 3-betting.

·  TAG.• Tight and aggressive players tend to have tight, yet slightly looser than a nit’s, VPIP and PFRs while keeping relatively small gaps between the two stats. TAGs are much more aware of position, and steal more aggressively. They will also re-steal and defending their blinds more often. TAGs will bluff a little more post-flop, as well as float, but still tend to maintain a “big pots with big hands” mentality.

·  LAG.  These are effectively TAG players on steroids. They steal more, 3-bet more, use more aggression, and don’t hesitate to run bluffs in good spots. Their VPIP and PFR are going to be looser than a TAG’s, and they retain a small relative gap between them. These players can present lots of trouble, especially when they are good and solid LAGs.

·  A-Fish.  These are bad players that have massive VPIPs. The fact that they are aggressive usually means they will have PFRs that are a bit higher, especially in relation to the P-Fish. These players will get involved in big pots much more liberally, and have varying levels of play. We have to be prepared to loosen up our hand strength standards post-flop, and remember to use pre-flop to set ourselves up for good spots.

·  P-Fish. These are also bad players, but they tend to be much more passive, both pre-flop and post-flop. They tend to have massive gaps in their VPIP and PFR, and usually have a VPIP higher than 20 and PFR less than 12. These players make many more calling mistakes than betting mistakes, and thus should be value bet constantly. However, we need to make sure we heavily reconsider our hand strength if/when they raise us. Overall, approach these players in a very straight forward way.

·  Unknown.  These are players that we don’t have any stats or information on. Usually, we just want to treat these players as P-Fish until they fall into a category. We play the most straight forward against P-Fish, and also give them the most respect on their raises, thus why we like using that as a default player type. Always make sure we are paying attention on the tables though, to ensure that unknowns don’t remain unknown very long and we can make more informed and correct decisions for our plays.

Now this is not to say that every TAG is a good player, nor that these player types might not sometimes overlap. Let’s quickly review some basic VPIP/PFR ranges for 2010:

  • Nit. VPIP: (10-12) / PFR: (5-9)
  • TAG. VPIP: (13-15) / PFR: (10-13)
  • LAG. VPIP: (16-22) / PFR: (13-20) — usually with a VPIP/PFR gap no bigger than 4
  •  A-Fish. VPIP: (24+) / PFR: (18+) — usually they have VPIP/PFR gaps bigger than 5
  • P-Fish. VPIP: (24+)/PFR: (16-) — usually they have VPIP/PFR massive gaps

Checkout James Sweeney’s Dynamic Full Ring Poker on Amazon here.