When sitting at the poker table, it is essential to be aware of your so-called “image” and the image of the players around you. The game image is how one player perceives another player’s style of play, which is determined through the nature and manner of his/her draws.
So, if a player doesn’t play many hands and only enters the pot with premium hands, the other players at the table may begin to perceive him as a very tight player, and consequently, he will have a tight image at the table.
Conversely, if a player enters a lot of pots and often calls raises, others will see him as a loose player, and therefore he will have an open image at the table.
What affects your image at the table?
Your image at the table will be shaped mainly by your play, but your viour can also influence it at the table. It’s normal for players to shape their image through their playing style (tight or loose). But sometimes, what you say or do at the table can override all that and portray a very different style of play to your opponents.
In most cases, your image at the table will be affected by how you play your cards.
If you are too loud and talkative at the table, your opponents may think you are playing poker for fun, giving you a loose image.
Conversely, if you’re quiet and reserved, you can expect your opponents to perceive you as a tight player. However, more advanced and observant players won’t pay attention to what you do and say; they’d rather let your cards and your moves tell them about your style.
The importance of image at the table
Image at the table is important because it will affect how your opponents play their hands against you.
If you have a loose image at the table, you may notice that opponents will be more likely to go into a sweat with you because they will realize that you are less demanding with your starting hands than tighter players.
If you have a tighter image at the table, your opponents will be more cautious about going into the pot under you, as they will be afraid that you might have a strong hand every time. But, of course, both of these styles have their pros and cons.
Advantages of the tight image
Essentially, the tight image is good in that you will go into the pot mostly with good hands, and thus if you only play good hands, it is logical to assume that you will win more pots than you lose. Moreover, your opponents will constantly be wary of the strength of your hand if you give yourself a taut image.
Therefore, you’ll be able to bluff more successfully than you would if you had a loose image, and you’ll take more pots with the worst hands. The main disadvantage of the tait image is that your opponents will be less likely to pay you for your strongest hands. After all, when you bet and rake, they will believe you and fold.
Advantages of the Loose Image
A loose style of play will also have its benefits…
While your opponents will fold on your strongest hands when you have a no-trump style, they’ll be much more likely to pay you when you have a loose style. This is because if you have a loose style, you’ve been taking a hit and raising a lot in previous hands, so your opponents, realizing that you can’t have a strong hand every time, will flash you in the opposite direction in hopes of catching you bluffing.
It’s also important to note that if you have a loose image, it doesn’t mean that you will be paid for your every strong hand. It just means that you’re going to get called a bit more often than you would if you had a tight image.
The main disadvantage with a loose image is that you risk losing a decent amount of money in the process. Going into the banks on too wide a range, you’ll get into difficult situations with marginal hands, and you’ll potentially lose money while you’re playing them.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both the Loose and the Tight images. However, it’s hard to say which one will be more profitable in the long run. Both can be profitable at the tables if used correctly. Nevertheless, it must be said that you will be exposed to more variance when you play with a loose style and a loose image than when you play with a tighter style.
Both a loose and a taut image have their advantages, but the potential to win more money with a loose image is higher.
You should also understand that your image at the table only matters if your players are paying attention to it. If your opponents don’t care how you play, then creating an image is irrelevant. It will be more accurate for micro limits, where players will be more interested in their cards than in you. Therefore, the importance of your image at the table will increase as you go up the limits, where you will more often meet advanced and thinking opponents.