How much does table image matter?

the_tpupthe_tpup Red Chipper Posts: 75 ✭✭
edited February 2015 in Live Poker Hands
So when I go to live cash games at the big casino in Seattle - Muckleshoot, I get put into games where I can spot some regulars, spot some of the "pros", and then there is the other segment of player I generalize as "Other"

When I'm in a cash game (3/5 NL) - I tend to have this habit (bad or good) of generalizing a players initial skill level based on how they appear at the table.

Example - Player is in a "Joe's TV Repair" uniform, looks like he's on his 10th day of working in a row. I'm generally thinking that this guy is not reading 2+2 or studying out charts, or reading about lines about equity etc. Why do I think this? Based solely off his appearance.

Now that might not be a good thing,but do we ever use these variables when trying to decipher what a player may have range wise or label into a player segment. What are some pros and cons you may all see. I think its wrong of me to do this, but I just normally do.


  • ArtArtBobartArtArtBobart Red Chipper Posts: 356 ✭✭
    If I think I have pegged a person by their appearance before I've seen them play many hands, I like to get confirmation of my assessment. I'm pretty friendly at the table (not in a manipulative way, that's just how I am) and try to engage them in conversation. Ask them what they do, etc. You can quickly deduce if they are a logical person.

    There has been a new person at the my game the last few nights, and he seemed to be a solid player--he was quiet at the table and did not play too many hands. Both nights he had a large stack. From my conversations with him I realized he was an OK player, but also had been capitalizing on a good run of cards. I was able to realize that I did not need to avoid pots with him, yet noted he did not tend to get out of line in his play.
  • EricEric Red Chipper Posts: 46 ✭✭
    Interesting topic Tpup.

    I got my poker start playing Poker in the New York City club games. Generally, in these games, the Asians were extremely wild and fishy. They were the main source of my income for years. Then I moved to Rhode Island and started playing at Foxwoods full-time. I got absolutely raped by the Asians my first three weeks playing there. My ass still hurts. Three weeks is how long it took me to realize that those Asian fish from New York were a bunch of nits in Connecticut. I'm sure I've lost well over a 100k stereotyping over the last few years. Now I try my hardest to adjust my strategy based off of evidence from hands being shown down or some abnormal frequencies rather than people's appearances. Every once in a while I slip up and it costs me.

    I'm not saying that it can't be done well, but I obviously SUCK at it and there's definitely some caution to be exercised when stereotyping at the poker table.

  • Jumbo DentonJumbo Denton Red Chipper Posts: 22
    Sit down at the table and see who has the three biggest stacks. You want to pay attention to them because they will give you the most competition. Look and see who has the small chips because they are probably the most active players at the table. Look at how the chips are stacked. Watch how they riffle their chips. The biggest give away is bet sizing. Always ask the question, just what was that bet trying to accomplish? It should all fall together.
  • HappySumoHappySumo Red Chipper Posts: 58
    In general, I do not profile by race. I profile by three criteria 1) stakes I am playing, 2) my observation of that player during the session, 3) player age.

    During a session I can get a comfortable feel of a player's tendencies fairly quickly. At lower stakes I am less likely to see bluffs when players bet large, they will not adjust to my aggressive tendencies correctly, and there are certain betting patterns that are very consistent.

    At higher stakes these "rules" become fuzzy and that is where you need to really pay attention to every hand being played.
  • Ed MillerEd Miller RCP Coach Posts: 330
    I make an assumption based on appearance about how everyone at the table will play. I will play to that assumption from hand 1, but obv I'm willing to readjust my read if I see something that doesn't fit the mold.
  • Napoleon54Napoleon54 Red Chipper Posts: 26

    I'm wondering, do you find that your assumptions about these players are inaccurate? do you end up losing to one or more of them b/c you made incorrect evaluation of their play/range?

    I have played a little at the muck too, I also made the same assumptions but have found them to be accurate and helped.

    Like Ed said, IMO, you start with the assumptions and change your mind based on their actions.
  • the_tpupthe_tpup Red Chipper Posts: 75 ✭✭
    I've found for the most part my evaluations are mostly accurate to a good degree.

    It's the older flashy asian guys at Muck I sometimes cant tell if they are gamblers, flamboyant, or "good" - so I try not to categorize in that sense.
  • the_tpupthe_tpup Red Chipper Posts: 75 ✭✭
    Hmmmm maybe I need to borrow a Joe's TV Repair uniform and wear that to that casino to be sneakY! jk
  • aFishnHisChipsaFishnHisChips Red Chipper Posts: 70
    I think ArtArtBobart - can I call you just Art? :) - makes a very valid point about the importance of wherever possible engaging people in friendly conversation. Nothing too probing or interrogative but it's amazing the stuff that people will give away. I find this is true particularly away from the table during breaks. It's why with new players at my local game I always make sure that I strike up a convo with them at the bar. Both because I want them to feel at home (cos in the end our game needs lots of new people to keep it fun and interesting etc) but also as I want to get as quick a handle as possible on their style of play.

    This was proved to me on Wednesday night in fact. I was telling the story to the guy next to me about the 'hustle' that Amarillo Slim used to do with a bet a he'd take on three hands and how it demonstrates the relative strength of hand values, equity etc. There was a moment's pause and this guy looks at me quizzically and says, "Yeah but all that percentage stuff, it's meaningless, isn't it? Probability can't make a hand. They're just cards aren't they? They either come up lucky or they don't. You either win or lose..."

    You can imagine the big mental note I put in my mind's HUD next to his face :)

    Not to mention a note to self that the Amarillo Slim story is maybe one I should try telling anybody new to our game so I can gauge their reaction!

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