Reading Your Opponent
And this one as well:
The business of pokerThis week I would like to discuss one of the most difficult aspects of poker: reading your opponent.
The first part of reading your opponents is knowing who your opponents are, and what tendencies they tend to exhibit. Essentially, there are four major styles of players in the poker world: the Mouse, the Elephant, the Jackal, and the Lion.
The Mouse is a very timid player. Someone who folds most of their hands, plays only a few pots, and will occasionally win the big one. Their chip stacks remain stable, and they usually are not the first ones out of a table. However, by not being aggressive, the Mouse has trouble down the stretch as they will not have as many chips as some of the more risky players. If you are playing against a mouse, you can bluff him out of most hands, but be wary of any sign of strength.
The Elephant is someone who is impossible to bluff. No matter how much money you throw in the pot, they will not budge. Even if they are sitting on a gunshot straight on the river, they probably won't lay down their hand. Although this is not a play to be concerned about, the Elephant can win big pots off players who try to bluff at them too hard. If you find yourself one on one with an Elephant, just sit back, be patient, and wait for the right cards to come.
Another type of player is the Jackal. They are the most wild and unpredictable of all. Characterized as being extremely aggressive, a Jackal may go all in on the first hand with A-2. Their chip stacks will take wild swings throughout a tournament, but this style of play is what lands many Jackals at the final table; the others are usually knocked out at the beginning of a tournament. When facing the Jackal, don't be frightened by their countless bluffs. Even if you have a marginal hand, you should consider playing if you are in good position. Slow playing is also an excellent strategy against a Jackal, as they may become over-aggressive at bluffing you out of a hand.
The Lion is the final player type, which simply stated is a very strong player. They play more hands than a mouse, but less than a Jackal or Elephant. They don't bluff too much, but will make several well-timed thefts of pots throughout the tournament. Usually finishing near the top of most tournaments, a Lion is someone you should be aware of when playing at a table.
Of course, we would all like to be a Lion, but most of us have tendencies which characterize us as one of the other animals. Now every style of play has its strengths, which makes it important to know how you play, and how the others play around you. For now, good luck and good gaming!