Like I said in my previous blog post, stats matter. They really do. I talked about VPIP/PFR in my last blog and want to highlight some key players that will have these stats and some of the Do’s and don’t went playing against them. This is what I’d call the 4 basic poker personality types. There are of course several iterations of these kinds of players in between, but people fall into one of these 4 categories, and then into a few sub-categories.
Four Basic Personality Types in Poker (Recognized by VPIP/PFR stats)
VPIP = 45+ / PFR 9 or less.
Do’s: Value bet excessively. If you have someone limping and cold calling a lot of pots, especially the higher that VPIP gets, then they’ll have second best hands much more than I see a lot of students realize. This means, second and third pair are good a lot, so don’t slow down, especially on the turn and in position.
Dont’s: Mmmm… don’t bluff!!! The only kind of bluff that should happen here is if you say c-bet, try and bet a scare card when you pick up equity on the turn, and lots of draws miss by the river. Then sometimes a very small bet to push out their drawing hands can be profitable. But don’t expect to blow them off any obvious weak hands they have. They have those stats for a reason, and it’s because they don’t like to fold.
VPIP = 12 or less / PFR = 12 or less.
Do’s: Fold a lot. These kinds of nits are only playing a strong range of hands, so getting involved pre-flop is rarely profitable unless you’re deep and in position. Then cold calling with some suite connector cards can be profitable if are reasonably confident in your post flop skills.
Dont’s: Only 3-bet for value. Again, their range is strong, and when they come into a pot, they are going to have a hand. Unless they have a really high fold to 3-bet, meaning they only continue with something like AK/QQ+ to a 3-bet, only play against them in position when you have strong hands. They are bluffable in the correct spots, but can’t go overboard.
VPIP = 35+ / PFR = 30+
Do’s: 3-bet a lot! Their range is way too weak, and usually this kind of player won’t fold to 3-bets, but you can isolate them when you have position, and get them into spots where they are forced to have a hand since SPR (stack to pot ratio) will get smaller in re-raised pots. Post flop, don’t try and bluff them in single raised pots. They generally won’t go away. It’s better to make small bluffs against them in re-raised pots, and wait to have a hand in single raised pots. And when you do, raise big since they tend to be non-believers. Also, be prepared to call down wider since they will bluff, but a lot of them won’t follow all the way through, so make sure you’re paying attention to the ones who will give up by the river, and the ones that won’t. It should be obvious with a little observation.
Dont’s: Don’t bluff these guys or get into an ego war with them. They are generally playing this style because they like the feeling of thinking they are in charge. So let them think that way, and then raise with big value hands. Don’t try and push them off weak hands. Because they bluff a lot, they expect others to bluff just as much, so they are willing to make some crazy hero calls.
VPIP = 20-28 / PFR = 18-27
Do’s: Play a smart aggressive game against your fellow regulars. Look for spots where they are over isolating weak players, and re-pop / steal the pot back with a nice 3-bet or 4-bet bluff pre-flop. Float them a decent amount when you have position so they know they can’t just raise and c-bet profitably. Always try to think one step ahead of them.
Dont’s: Don’t play many pots out of position against them. They’ll know your range and visa versa, and position is too huge of advantage to over come against other competent opponents. Only play hands you know have very good showdown value, or high semi-bluff equity (mid range suited connectors).