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Table Image

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When evaluating a decision at the table, many players look at the table image of their opponent. What a player is trying to figure out is if the opponent is loose, aggressive, tight, passive, a complete maniac, or a combination of the above. What most players don’t do is think about their own table image. The image you project could very well be the determining factor in getting paid off on the river, or running a successful bluff. There are many different factors that contribute to your image, and in no particular order they include:

1. How often you enter a pot - It doesn’t take an observant opponent to notice if you are playing every hand, or if you haven’t played a hand in an hour. This is vital information to your opponents because if you are the type of player that doesn’t play very many hands, your opponents know that you are more likely to have a big hand when you do play.

2. How you play your hands - When you play a hand, are you more likely to check and call, or are you the one that likes to be the bettor. If checked to, do you bet instinctively, or only when you have a real hand. This is something that only observant players are going to pick up on, but is very valuable information.

3. Do you have a case of “raiseitis” - Some players that you play against are going to be of the type that they either pump it or dump it. Simply put, if they can’t, or choose not to, raise, then they will fold. Usually, when a player raises, it means that they have a good hand. More and more though, a raise is used as a semi-bluff when the player flops a draw. Also, raises are used to isolate weaker opponents or to protect a vulnerable hand. If you are the type of player that likes to put in lots of raises, good players will pick up on this, and your raises won’t be getting much respect.

4. Are you on tilt - Any time you take a bad beat in a hand, it has the possible effect of putting you on tilt. Your opponents at the table know this, and if you enter a pot immediately following a bad beat, your opponents will take the previous hand into consideration when judging your actions. Sometimes it is to your benefit to pick up a big hand following a bad beat, because a number of your opponents will simply think that you are on tilt when you come out firing.

5. Recent hands - Lets say that in the last four hands, you have been dealt pocket pairs in all of them. It gets better when you have flopped a set each time, but haven’t had to show them because your river bet wasn’t called. Now, when you play your fifth hand, whether it’s a good hand or not, your opponents are going to be less likely to put you on a good hand, because you have been firing at each of the last four pots. It doesn’t matter what your table image was up to that point. Because of the fact that you didn’t show any of your strong holdings in the previous four hands, your opponents aren’t going to give you credit for having a strong hand this time.

When playing poker, it is very important to be aware of your opponents at the table. Keep in mind though, that they are also aware of you. So before you going firing at the river card hoping that your opponent will lay down the winner, make sure that you haven’t been caught doing that to often.

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