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How to Exploit 3 Different Types of Poker Players

Your goal in poker is to make as much money as possible.

In order to do that, you must exploit your opponents to the maximum, though this is not always possible.

Oftentimes you simply won’t have enough reliable information about your opponents to exploit them. But sometimes you will and, when you do, it would be foolish not to use it.

In this article, you will learn how to exploit 3 different types of poker players:

  1. Tight players who don’t call down often enough.
  2. Players who 3-bet too infrequently.
  3. Loose players who bet aggressively.

Let’s start!

Note: If you want to test your poker skills, take the cash game quiz at the bottom of this article and get a $30 coupon just for trying. Click here to start the quiz now.

Tight Players Who Don’t Call Down Enough

When a player has shown an unwillingness to call down versus bets on the flop, turn, and river, you should fire all three streets more often.

For example:

Online $5/$10. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $1000.

Hero is in middle position with A Q♠
UTG folds. Hero raises to $25. 3 folds. Big Blind calls $15.

Flop ($55): K♠ 5 4♠
Big Blind checks. Hero bets $18. Big Blind calls.

On the flop Hero has range and nut advantage plus the board is pretty dry, which makes him want to c-bet very frequently for a small size. This hand is strong enough to do so with 1 overcard, a backdoor flush draw, and backdoor straight draws.

Turn ($91): T
Big Blind checks. Hero bets $70. Big Blind calls.

On the turn, Hero’s hand improves to a gutshot plus an overcard, making it a strong candidate for another bet.

River ($231): 2♣
Big Blind checks. Hero…

On the river, a lot of draws have missed but Hero’s range still has a lot of strong hands that want to triple barrel for value (such as AA, AK, KTs, 44, 55, TT, KK, A3s). In theory, he will need to balance those combinations with the proper number of bluffs in order to be unexploitable.

But when you’re up against a player who will fold too often, betting with a balanced range is unnecessary. Instead, you should bluff the river with every single bluff combination in your range to punish their tight play.

When to Use This Exploit

To determine whether or not this or any exploit is worth using, you need some information. This information can be gained in many ways, but the most accurate are statistics for online poker and previous showdowns for live poker.

When playing online, you should look out for the following statistics:

  • Went to showdown <28% (1000+ hands)
  • Won when saw flop <47% (1000+ hands)
  • Fold to river c-bet (in single raised pots) >50% (3000+ hands)

When playing live, you should make this play when your opponent is:

  • A player who has shown a “hero fold” against a triple barrel (like KJ in the example hand above).
  • A player with whom you have extensive history who also has never made a marginal call down.

Players Who 3-Bet Infrequently

Preflop charts (like the ones in the Upswing Lab) are great, but they can’t factor in your opponents’ tendencies. You can win more money by deviating from charts when the circumstances are appropriate.

When you are facing a 3-bet from a player who rarely 3-bets, for example, you should deviate by folding more.

Let’s take the following hand example:

Online $5/$10. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $1000.

Hero is in the CO with J T
2 folds. Hero raises to $25. Button 3-bets to $90. 2 folds. Hero…

Against a player with decent preflop ranges, JTs is an easy call versus a 3-bet. But let’s explore the cases when the optimal response is to fold.

When to Use This Exploit

When playing online, you should look out for the following statistics:

  • 3-bet button versus cutoff stat <10% (1000+ hands)
  • Overall 3-bet of <6% (500+ hands)

When playing live, you should make this fold when your opponent is:

  • A player that hasn’t 3-bet in the last 3+ hours.
  • A player with whom you have extensive history who hasn’t 3-bet with anything worse than pocket 99, ATs or KJs.
  • Someone who looks like this:

    (Photo: pressofatlanticcity.com)

To learn more tactics that win vs tight players, read this article.

Loose Players Who Bet Aggressively

You should call down with more bluff-catchers (hands that only beat bluffs) when your opponent is a loose, aggressive player.

Let’s take the following hand example:

Online $5/$10. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $1000.

Hero is in the Big Blind with T♣ 8♣
2 folds. Cutoff raises to $25. 2 folds. Hero calls.

Flop ($55): T♠ 7 3♠
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $18. Hero calls.

Turn ($91): J
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $70. Hero calls.

River ($231): 5♣
Hero checks. Cutoff bets $150. Hero…

Hero has easy calls on both the flop (with top pair) and the turn (with middle pair and a gutshot).

On the river, this hand would be reasonable to fold against most players, but there are certain circumstances in which it becomes a snap call.

When to Use This Exploit

Making big call downs is a very risky move in terms of how much money is at stake and the impact it will have on your winnings. You should only do so in specific situations.

Statistics to look for online:

  • VPIP of >40% coupled with a preflop raise frequency of >10% (100+ hands)
  • Flop, Turn c-bet in single raised pots in position of >60% (1500+ hands)
  • Flop, Turn, River betting frequency of >40% (1500+ hands)

When playing live, you should make these types of calls when your opponent is:

  • A player that seems to play every other hand or more.
  • A player that has shown down very weak preflop hands that aren’t consistent with a solid strategy.

For more advice on playing vs aggresive players, read How to Beat the Guy Who Is Always Betting.

Wrapping Up

Exploiting is the artistic part of poker. These are the things that are extremely hard to quantify and it’s very specific to each player. If you want to become the best you can be, you will need to put just as much effort into becoming good at identifying opportunities for exploiting as you put into knowing how to build your ranges properly so that you can avoid getting exploited. The 2 are not mutually exclusive.

That’s all for this one! I hope you enjoyed this list of exploitative adjustments.

If you have any questions or feedback whatsoever please leave a comment down below and I will do my best to answer it.

If you are interested in further reading, check out3 Stupid-Simple Tricks That Crush Calling Stations [2nd Edition].

 

One last thing before you go: take the quiz below to test your skills and find out if you should enroll in the Upswing Lab training course.

Done with the quiz? Review the answers and explanations here.

Home > How to Exploit 3 Different Types of Poker Players
Home > How to Exploit 3 Different Types of Poker Players
About the Author

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games.

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