What are the Main Types of Poker Players? Part 2


What are the Main Types of Poker Players? Part 2

After previously touching on the four main types of poker players in the previous blog, including the Rock, TAG, Calling Station, and LAG lets now turn our attention to five other types of poker players. Download WPT Global today to your device and turn your attention to five other types of poker players

Other Common Types of Poker Players


A nit is a player who has taken the tight-passive style to extremes, playing very few hands and playing them passively (very rarely making action, raising preflop or betting thereafter). Sometimes mistaken for “caution”, a nit displays a level of risk-aversion that makes them exploitable. You might forget a nit is even at the table, so rarely do they dust off chips and voluntarily put them in pots (a truly nitty VPIP would be in the region of 6-10%).

Knowing that a nit will only enter pots with extremely strong hands is key to playing them: calling in position with hands that play well post-flop and can crack big pairs like aces and kings is the way to extract a nit 's chips.

The aim of the game of poker is to win other player's chips; playing like a nit reduces the options to win these to situations in which you both are dealt very strong hands and are playing opponents who haven 't noticed you 're a nit and will pay you off with weaker holdings. An extreme fictional example would be a player who only played the top starting hand in hold 'em: pocket aces. They 'll be dealt those once every 221 hands on average. That 's a lot of small and big blinds given away, and a flashing neon sign when they do raise for everyone to get out of the way and give minimal value.

The Maniac

A maniac is the opposite of a nit, taking aggression in most situations to extremes and playing a very wide range of hands. It is easy to tell when a maniac has sat down at a table - they try to steamroll opponents with continuous aggressive action and put tighter players to the test by rarely backing down. The maniac is not to be confused with the more restrained loose-aggressive player type, however. Unlike the LAG, the maniac 's play is uncontrolled and unaware of position; they will also often make wild or outsize bets (bluffs or value bets).

Having a maniac on your left can be frustrating, as you 're going to be three-bet a high percentage of the time if you open preflop and can expect to face (big) bets thereafter if you play passively (of course, a maniac can be trapped in this manner). Adjusting to a tighter playing style and letting the maniac do all the betting for you when you have a strong hand is one way to extract chips from this type of player but be prepared to get in some high-variance situations. Maniacs will overbet with draws, made hands, and pure air; this high-pressure approach means that they will take down a lot of pots before eventually getting caught.

One arena in which a maniac style is often seen is lower buy-in unlimited re-entry tournaments. The ability to just start again after losing your stack means that maniacs adopt a “go big or try again” strategy before the freezeout part of the tournament begins. Expect some who built large stacks to lose them just as quickly, however, once there 's no longer an option to start fresh.

The Shark

When someone calls a player a shark, they 're giving a respectful nod to their overall poker ability. Sharks feed on “fish” (the term for poor or inexperienced players) and the moniker warns other players to be wary of them at the table. A single sophisticated play or astounding read does not make a player a shark. When online players note opponents as sharks, they 're doing so after playing a lot of hands with them - enough to give a sample size that accurately predicts their behavior and win-rate.

Sharks do not have to be specific player types. Loose-aggressive or tight-aggressive - it doesn 't matter: adaptable, aware, winning players are those who get tagged as sharks in the game.

The Whale 

A whale refers to a gambler with deep pockets, prepared to give a lot of action in any game - not just poker. The term originated in the casino business, where individual high rollers were singled out for preferential treatment in order to encourage them to play at specific establishments. In poker, a whale 's willingness to gamble is usually combined with either a shaky grasp of strategy or such a laissez-faire attitude to money that “optimal” play is not an important part of their playbook. So, a whale in a particular game will be the target of sharks, and a potentially lucrative one. However, there 's no guarantee that a whale is going to lose in any given situation or on any given day - they have in common with the maniac that their fearlessness and lack of brakes mean that they can take down even the best players in the short term with an insurmountable bankroll and a confident attitude.


OMC in poker stands for “old man coffee.” It doesn 't necessarily refer to a real elderly gentleman with a caffeinated beverage at the table, but means a style of play that closely resembles the nit. The OMC will play a very tight preflop range, for example, especially when it comes to raising or three-betting - expect absolutely premium hands when this happens. The OMC isn 't always an inexperienced player, in fact, it often refers to one who has spent many years playing an ultra-tight, trap-ridden style profitably. The archetypal OMC plays poker to socialize and enjoy the game rather than maximize profit at every stage of every hand.

Be warned, however, it 's probably rude to call another player an OMC, and not all older players are going to play in this fashion. Nowadays more than ever, in a live game it is never wise to pigeonhole opponents before you 've seen a good number of orbits; some of the top online players are now eligible for the Seniors Event at the WSOP.


These categories cover the most common overall player types in poker and are handy abbreviations for a set of behaviors that, once noticed, can help inform your decisions when playing against them. However, the best players are those who read individual situations well, can expand and contract ranges, and know when to trap and when to pile on the pressure. It takes a little while to build up a complete picture of a player - the more hands you play (a quicker process online than live), the more accurate an idea you will have of a player 's VPIP, preflop raise percentage, passivity/aggression postflop etc. and the more precisely you will be able to define your opponents.

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