Opponent analysis

by PokerAnon ~ April 9th, 2010. Filed under: $ 25nl x 6+ tables of FR.

So here’s a project.

This player was playing very oddly. Mostly loose and passive preflop, but aggressive postflop. So I’ve collected up the hands that he played, in sequence, to take a look at how he’s thinking.

First hand, I think his first at the table,

First activity, I think.

Next hand, he’s completing in the SB with Q2s,

Then he flats a PFR and gets lucky. He flops top and bottom pair on a flop with a flush draw and his bottom pair is really low, so I don’t like his flat of the flop bet and then small turn bet. If the board pairs, his bottom pair is counterfeited and if the flush fills he has no idea whether his opponent might have it, and any other card might give his opponent a bigger two pair.

Limps from UTG, bets at the flop,

Completes the SB, bets the river,

Calls my PFR and raises my c-bet, with a gutshot. I don’t know why I called the raise other than 1) I hate being raised on the flop small, and 2) I was beginning to get suspicious of his post-flop aggression.

My bad call of his bad flop raise probably led him to think that I had a weak Ace or some other hand that I was going to call him down with, but I end up winning with K high.

This time I have nothing and there’s not much point doing anything, unless I want to try to set up a dynamic for later. It’s not an uncommon thing for loose passive players to open limp with everthing, including big hands, and bet the flop in position whether or not they hit.

Here he waits until the board is totally dangerous before betting,

And now he decides to limp/call and try to trap with AA. As it turns out, he would have won a lot more by raising/4 betting or even limping/ 3 betting as I would have been willing to get it all in preflop against him. Instead he lets me make the decisions, and my suspicions and my “monsters under the bed” syndrome only pay him 2 streets.

Here there’s a chain of limpers, player in position bets the flop, he calls, and decides the guy is serious when he bets the turn as well,

Here he calls my PFR with Q8s and donks an AQx flop. KK is a monster preflop, but when an Ace flops it’s only a medium strength hand. I’m playing WA/WB even with the flush draw. He continues his practice of being aggressive on only one street.

Here he completes the SB as usual, waits until the river and then overbets the pot,

Last one, and this one’s interesting. He limps from the button, SB raises but the BB 3 bets.

He flats this 3 bet.

What’s interesting is the flop and turn play, given his hand. Is he actually smart enough to

realize the most likely holdings for the BB are AK, then AA/KK, then QQ? And that there are

  • 1 combo of AA (since he has one A and the other is on the flop),
  • 8 combos of AK that he’s behind, and
  • 6 combos of KK,
  • 3 combos of QQ, that he’s ahead of

On the turn that reduces things to

  • No AA,
    4 combos of AK that he’s behind, and
    6 combos of KK,
    3 combos of QQ, that he’s ahead of

so now he should allow his oppnent to bet/bluff. On the river,

  • 3 combos of AK,
  • 3 combos of KK that he’s behind, and
  • 3 combos of QQ, that he’s ahead of


So what can we glean about this player?

His VP$IP was high so he likes to see flops. As is expected from a player like this, he pretty much always completes the small blind. He’ll open limp big hands (AA and AQ) and then call raises with them. As a result I have no idea what his open shove from early in the one hand that he raised means.

He’ll bet or raise or donk on flops with weak draws or weak hands and then check down. With two pair he’ll continue aggression, but with odd bet sizes. He’ll stab at pots when no one has shown any interest, sometimes with overbets, but because these never got called we don’t know whether these stabs sizes represent more strength or less strength.


PTR’s summary doesn’t help much. He’s only been playing 5 months on Stars, only 800 hands and half at $25nl and half at $50nl plus a few at $100nl. Given his buyin levels and erratic play, possibly a live poker player who is used to bigger games. PTR confirms that he’s way loose preflop, near optimal aggression on the flop, but worse and worse ratings for aggression on the turn and then the river.

He’s a winner, but largely due to a few hands. Minraising KK UTG at $50 and his opponent caught a flush draw on the flop and shoved but missed, calling a short stack raise with A4s and flopping two pair vrs AK, potting Q9 on a mulitway limped pot on a Q43 board and calling a short stack who ch/shoved K4, and the like.

So flop aggression could mean anything, from top or middle pair to two pair to a gutshot. With at least two pair he’ll continue aggression on later streets. He doesn’t understand position, won’t raise preflop, or at least not properly, doesn’t care who raised preflop and is happy to donk if he catches.

It’s interesting to look at some hands in PTR. He calls an early position raise from a good reg that I’ve played with A4s, and shoves his stack over a c-bet on a AQT two tone (not his suit though) flop, when the reg had TT. He also open limp/calls from mid with K4o, checks two pair to JJ, JJ checks back, shoves the the turn and JJ calls. That’s just how he rolls, apparently. Now I don’t know table dynamics obviously, but I do know that the reg in the AQT hand is tight and aggressive, betting most flops the times that my subject calls behind. After losing 100 bbs to the reg, he open shoves the last 16 bbs with JTs from UTG and loses, so he will tilt off the balance of his buyin.


So I knew that he was bad, but I wanted to try to figure out his erratic nature. Some of that erraticness probably stems from lack of understanding of bet sizing and goals. He also seems to have a preflop policy of limp and see flops, and a flop policy of bet/raise any hand with value, and a turn and river policy of only bet two pair or better. With top pair on the flop though, he’ll shove or call off his stack.

To play him, he won’t fold preflop, but his limp/calling range can include big hands. If you have better than just top pair you can make him commit on the flop by being aggressive. If he continues aggression on the turn and river he has at least two pair. I think it’s this last little bit of good play that’s helped keep him from being a massive losing fish, plus the flop aggression and weird style that probably confuses other opponents besides myself. And the final answer is no, I don’t think that he was thinking of the combinations and change in combinations when he called down the AQ 3 bet hand.

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2 Responses to Opponent analysis

  1. Pat

    “Given his buyin levels and erratic play, possibly a live poker player who is used to bigger games.”

    I doubt that, and you doubt it too. You go on to say that he [probably] doesn’t understand position; wouldn’t he be broke if he played live without grasping a fundamental concept?

    In my opinion, from watching the replays, he’s just a new fish swimming in deep waters. I’ve seen better players at $5NL Rush! 😀

  2. Admin

    I should have been a little more clear about that statement.

    What I meant was he’s probably used to playing $1/$2 at a casino, which is what I meant by higher buyin levels, and is one of those people that haven’t yet learned that $1/$2 live is closer to 0.05/0.10 or lower on line in terms of skill level. Live I think you expect lots of limpers wanting to see a flop and any iso-raise will still get plenty of calls.

    Or so I read everywhere; I don’t have much interest in playing live myself except for the occasional charity tournament or game with friends so I can’t confirm that comparison.

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