Longtime professional poker player and coach Jonathan Little has earned the respect and praise of the poker world as one of the game’s preeminent personalities. His writings, coaching and musings, suite of training material at Pokercoaching.com along with his winnings at the tables (over $7 million in live earnings), are outstanding. Recently, Jonathan asked his audience the question: “Which Type of Player Do You Choose to Be?” He identified two types of player: Recreational Players and Sharks, and proceeded to list the criteria for each. Of course, with millions of people playing poker, and considering the complexities of the game, there may be other types.

Based on my decades at the tables, I believe that recreational players often satisfy many of the criteria that Jonathan ascribes to Sharks. I, myself, would add to my typology Poker Pigeons and Fish – the weakest of them all. If I were to limit players to two types, I would choose Recreational players vs. Professionals (pros). The latter group of players depends on poker for at least part of their income. They learn the skills and strategies essential to becoming consistent winners, and play in the higher stakes games and tournaments.

“The real winners in life are the people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better.”

— Barbara Pletcher July 21, 2020

The vast majority of us are Recreational players. We play for the enjoyment of the game – most often in low and middle limit games. We are drawn by the mental challenge and social interaction – and, of course, most of us seek to win. Within that group are the extremely weak players who we might identify as Pigeons or Fish. These players depend on luck – not skill; and, in that sense, they are there to gamble. Many of them may enjoy casino games for that very same reason, and look to sites like https://www.verovapaatkasinot.com/ to find the best places to play online casino games. They are easily identified because they play so many starting hands – on average, more than one out of four hands dealt.

Criteria for a Poker Shark

I do wholeheartedly agree that the criteria Jonathan Little has chosen for the Sharks is just what you need to be a consistent winner. Let’s comment on a few of these:

Play to win despite fear — If there is an opponent who you fear, you can always change tables.

Play fundamentally sound poker — This is a key criterion and includes:
(a) Don’t play at a table with several very tight opponents.
(b) Starting hand selection is most important; use the Hold’em Algorithm or equivalent charts.
(c) Consider the pot odds vs. your card odds for a positive expectation; learn how to count your outs.
(d) Know your opponents’ playing traits and observe their tells.
(e) Build the pot size when you catch a monster hand.
(f) Avoid maniacs at your table. Change your seat so a maniac acts before you or move to another table.

Exploit opponents’ mistakes – Focus on the game to observe and decide how to best play against such an opponent.

Create your own luck by consistently making better decisions than your opponents – I would prefer to label this criterion: Influence luck to your advantage…

Bluff often – I would add: Learn the art of bluffing.

Never stop learning – I often emphasize this to my students.

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Did you know that flashers play poker? There are several definitions that describe a flasher, including a person who exposes his body. That’s not quite the case at the poker table; here, we consider a person a flasher if they shows their hole cards so that other players can see them. Knowing your opponent’s hand is the best information you can hope for. One of the great poker skills is reading your opponent’s hand. It is not easy; often it is a best guess.


Cards can be exposed by either the dealer or a player

It is not uncommon for the dealer to accidentally expose a card as he/she is dealing from the deck. We’re talking about in live poker, of course; not online. If you’re on a site like https://supersevencasino.fi, you can rest assured the cards will always be dealt out properly.

If it is one of the first cards dealt out, the dealer will reshuffle the cards and start over. If the dealer is laying a down-card on the board, the flashed card is used as a burn-card; instead, the next card is dealt from the top of the deck. But dealers are not what we would term “flashers”; it is only the players with whom we are concerned.

Players may unintentionally expose the cards dealt to them face-down as the game progresses. These are their down cards (the hole cards in Texas hold’em). I have seen it happen – especially in low/middle limit games frequented by recreational players. Poker pros and others playing for high stakes are much more careful. It often happens when a player has a vision – i.e., an eyesight –  problem. They lifts their down-cards off the table to better study them. At that moment, one or both may become visible to an opponent to their side.

It can also happen when a player is folding their hand and is careless as he tosses it into the muck, so that one of the cards is turned face-up. The dealer will quickly grab the card and turn it back down while placing it into the pile of discards – and cautions the player to be more careful.

On the other hand, an emotionally upset player – with a scowl on their face – may actually throw their cards at the dealer, angry because they were not dealt a winner. Perhaps they suffered a bad beat and feel the need to blame someone. Who else but the dealer!

My Experience

Many years ago, when I first started playing in casinos, I observed a player to my side flashing his hole cards. My first reaction was to turn my head away. I felt it was the ethical thing to do. Discussing the matter with other players, it was pointed out to me that it is the player’s responsibility to protect his cards. That includes preventing exposure of his down cards to others. On that basis, I no longer avert my eyes If the cards can be seen without craning my neck. I am not cheating and am pleased for the information. I pondered the issue for quite a while. My decision: If you take active steps to see an opponent’s hand, you are cheating; that is unethical and is a no-no in my book. Interestingly, over the years, my eyesight has deteriorated; so I visited my optometrist to get eyeglasses specially designed to help me see the cards better.

Chances are that anyone so careless in viewing their down cards is so poor a player that they are bound to lose their chips anyway.

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