Most online poker rooms allow you to label your opponents according to a certain typology that covers all “types” of poker players, each with their own playing style. A player’s style is characterised by two attributes: the tightness and the aggressiveness of his play. There are:
Tight players (who play very few hands) or loose players (who play a lot of hands);
Aggressive players (who raise and bluff) or passive players (who call other players’ bets).
The online player types are called: calling station, maniac, shark, rock, fish, bomb. Some of these labels are good but some have a negative connotation and if you are attributed a bad label you will start losing money. Once you learn how to recognize the type of players you are dealing with, you will be able to defend your bankroll better and increase your winnings.
Calling Station: They are loose-passive players who wait for the others to initiate the action and call with almost any pair. They wait for almost all flops to be revealed and are involved in many showdowns. The best tactic against these players is to value bet big hands because they will follow you with their pairs, or even weaker hands. Bluffing is not recommended because it’s very likely they will call with weak hands.
Maniac: You can find all the details about this type in my previous post, the whole article being dedicated to them. Succinctly put, a maniac player raises a lot and is extremely active, getting involved in many hands.
Shark: This is the type that all players would like to become but you need experience in order to reach that level. Sharks are tight-aggressive and difficult to read, so they put you in difficulty. They play only big hands in good position and play them very aggressively. Don’t get involved with them when you are out of position, but if you do, be sure that you have hit big on the flop.
Rock: These players are even tighter than sharks, play only premium hands (high pocket pairs and high hands). You should avoid getting into pots with them unless you have a really strong hand.
Fish: This type is applicable to beginners or amateurs and is a combination of loose and passive play. They play lots of hands, chase pots on draws and call down to the river with almost any two cards, so make sure you value bet your big hands against them.
Bomb: They are a sort of maniacs, but more aggressive and even intimidating to play against. They make heavily use of bluffing, semi-bluffing and raising big. They have a weak spot though and you can catch them off guard with a check/raise when you connect on a flop because they almost always continuation bet after a flop where they have raised pre-flop.
Irrespective of whether you are playing online or offline, it is always useful to analyze your opponents and determine what type they are. In this way you can have better chances to extract the most chips from them.