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The Occasional Poker Player

By Nicolás Melgar

Learning what type of opponents we have teaches us the most appropriate way to deal with them. With this guide you can detect the typical characteristics of the ‘occasional online poker player’. This type of player is easily recognisable, as they present some very distinctive traits, among which the following stand out.

I. They are usually only connected and playing for a few hours a day or even just at weekends, because this is a recreational activity for them. They play for distraction or for amusement. They play occasionally because this player is busy doing other things, which means that poker is just a fun setting for him to spend some money buying a few hands every now and then, as they are just looking for fun.

II. They usually open with hands below the average and even bet with losing hands. Since this type of player is only looking for some distraction, and plays with a limited period of time available, they are not interested in waiting for premium hands … they play with the cards they have during the time they’re at the table, and nothing else! A 10 or J connected is an excellent hand from UTG against this kind of player. Against these rivals you should greatly expand the range of opening hands you would raise with, they don’t just consider a raise on about 10% of their hands UTG … they may consider a range for betting on hands UTG as broad as a solid player’s range would be if they were betting when they’re on the button!

III. When the occasional player is online, they may play on a few tables at the same time, or in quick succession as their intention is to get some quick gratification. Hence they do not care about analyzing their opponents at the tables. Also playing at many tables simultaneously increases the risk of making mistakes. The danger of a “miss-click” will arise… even more so if they are playing fast tables.

IV. This player will usually pay your raise or even re-raise without much time for reflection. If they bet and we raise, they will probably call our bet… because they just want to see the flop. This type of player is very simple and will happily 3bet or 6bet pre-flop when holding a low pair or connectors that are easily counterfeited. In this case, a re-raise should be considered whenever you have position on the player, as it is really simple to tell if they have had a good flop or not.

V. When we choose our seat at the table, if we have recognised an occasional player it is always better to sit on their left, so they can act before us as we already know what to do.

When we successfully identify these players we must consider the following:

a. If we are going to play against them, we always should raise pre-flop, so we will win more blinds from the beginning and then bet the flop – which he will pay to see a majority of the time, resulting in more profit for us.

b. Continuing after the flop, whenever he checks to us we bet because the occasional player will often pay this bet to see the next card.
The only big concern we should have is when this type of player strongly ups the bet or when they go all in. Under these conditions, we must carefully consider our cards, because our opponent probably has a monster hand and is shouting about it.

Anyway, folding and not playing when your opponent holds a winning hand is a victory; and knowing when not to bet is also a victory. Opponents such as the occasional poker player are just what is needed when someone initiated into the poker world wants to increase his bankroll.

Image ‘Thinking RFID’ by Jacob Bøtter

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