Poker Life: About Your Table Image
A lot has been written about understanding your table image and how to use it to your advantage. Usually the recommendation is simple: Build a tight table image and then make an occasional bluff and everyone will fold.
I would call that ABC poker and today I would like to write about something that I think is a lot more important: what the other players think about you as a person. There is some interesting group psychology going on around a poker table and you need to be aware of it and use that to your advantage.
What do the other players think about you? I am not talking about your style of play. I am talking about your personality. Do they like you? Do they find you annoying? Do they think you are lucky? Do they want to knock you out? Are they scared of you? Do they care about you at all? The answers to all these questions will affect how they play against you.
A very good poker player I know often talks about how lucky he is at the table. He gives examples of hand after hand when he got a lucky river card or something like that. And every time he gets a good flop he keeps talking about it afterwards. This is part of his strategy and it works. Would you play pocket jacks in a big pot against a player known for his luck? Subconsciously you would probably avoid it.
What if the other players like you? Then they are probably less likely to make bluffs against you. That is not really a nice thing to do, right? They would rather bluff the boring player who is watching a movie on his iPad, or the annoying player they would like knock out.
Pay attention next time you play in a live game and you will notice a lot of these things going on.
This is psychology and there is no right or wrong here, but in general I would say that it is good if the other players care about you one way or the other. You do not want to be the anonymous guy who does not speak to anyone. It is better to be the annoying guy that everyone wants to knock out.
Who am I then? In a casino environment or in a major tournament I am usually the likeable guy and I always make sure to be nice to players seated close to me. I tell them they play well when they do and I feel sorry for them when they get unlucky.
In my home game against friends I am a different person. Then I am the annoying guy who trash talks more and better than everyone else. When I am all-in against someone the whole table will want the other guy to win. Since I am the target players will play weaker hands against me so I will get a lot of action.
Who do you want to be? You decide. All I say is that you need to be aware of it.