Just how deeply do you have to go to classify your opponents in no limit Texas hold’em poker? Some players use tracking software but how important is it to use tracking software? Well I have been an exponent of both using these software items and not using them but I do feel that a player can go an awful long way just by the data that they have on the screen and the overall knowledge of their level.
For example I play mainly NL50 and NL100 at full ring. I have a lot of experience at these levels and so I can classify my opponents quite easily. In my experience then players in full ring games fall into three broad categories and you do not need tracking software to know what they are.
The Proper Frequency
Players broadly either place too much action, not enough action or the correct amount of action. The ones that place too much tend to be the loose-passive players or players who are loose in general. These could even be loose-aggressive players who are not playing the LAG style correctly.
These players tend to call raises too liberally and make moves for the sake of making moves. In fact there is name for players like this and they are often referred to as “Dumb LAG’s”. They simply are the classic example of what I am talking about with regards to players giving incorrect action.
In fact loose-passive players tend not to dominate full ring games but bad loose-aggressive players are more prevalent. When a player is giving too much action in a loose-aggressive way then you can simply value bet them when you have strong hands. If they are always looking to raise and re-raise then you can isolate them with stronger holdings. The flip side of the coin is the player that gives too little action.
Weak Tight Players
These are the classic weak-tight players. Remember though that weak-tight players are also tight-aggressive as well. Just because a player is tight-aggressive doesn’t automatically mean that they are playing optimal poker. In fact I know many tight-aggressive players who barely beat the game.
This could be to do with the fact that they make too many big mistakes in big pots or they simply play too tightly relative to the action. The third type of player is the solid reg.
These can be seen by the fact that they play good solid tight-aggressive poker. However unlike the weak-tight player these players are more LAG when in position. What this basically means is that they are playing much closer to optimal poker than the weak-tight player.
So then if we can broadly classify each opponent as easily as this then why do we need tracking software? Well firstly it helps us to see VPIP/PFR/AF metrics which for me are easily the three most important metrics that there are.
Not Enough Time to Think
I think you can find a case for other metrics but if you are multi-tabling and playing say at least ten tables then you simply do not have the time to delve too deeply into the back pages of tracking software. Poker and making money at it is about exploiting the fish and not trying to decipher what really good regs are doing.
I leave that process to the players who are trying to beat middle limits and above. I on the other hand prefer to mix it with the NL50 and NL100 players at those levels. I know that these opponents even when they are regs are never going to hit me with highly evolved poker theory and multi-level thinking and that for me makes poker a damn site easier.