When you are playing in a poker table, you should be aware of your own “table image” and the image of your opponents. When we talk about table image we refer to the way in which one player identifies the style of another player, which is based on the way in which they play poker.
Suppose that an opponent is not playing many hands and only enters pots when he has premium hands, you may see that player as very tight and, as a consequence, they’ll have a tough table image.
On the other hand, when your opponent enters many pots and calls frequently, you may see them as a loose player and he will have a loose table image.
What factors influence table image?
Your table image is mainly based on the way in which you play poker hold’em. However, your image can also be influenced by your conduct at the table. In general, players build their image through their style of play, and it can be tight or loose, but sometimes, the words you say or the thing you do at the table can eclipse that and show a different play style to the other players.
Most of the time, your table image will have a lot to do with the way you play your cards.
If you tend to talk and be loud at the table, the other players may perceive that you are having a good time and they will play several numbers just for entertainment, which will give you a loose table image.
On the other hand, if you are a reserved person and you play quietly, your opponents may perceive you as a tight player. The more experienced players, who also tend to be the most observant, will see through what you say or do and will wait for the cards to do the talking before deciding on your style of play.
The importance of table image
The importance of table image comes to the fact that it influences the way in which your opponents choose to play their hands against you.
If you have a loose image, the other players will feel more inclined to get into pots with you as they’ll realize that you have lower starting hand requirements than a tight player.
If you have a tight table image, the other players will probably be less likely to get into pots with you since they will be scared that may have a big hand every time you enter a pot.
Both styles have distinctive benefits.
The benefit of a tight image
In general, a tight table image will be beneficial to you because you’ll tend to enter pots with good hands and as a consequence, you’ll win more pots than you lose. Besides, the other players will constantly be afraid that you have a strong hand.
As a result, you’ll have the chance to bluff your opponents more frequently than you would if you had a loose image and you’ll be able to win an extra pot from time to time holding the worst hand. The main disadvantage of having a tight image is that you’ll have less chances of getting paid off with some strong hands since the other players will think you have a good hand if you bet and they will tend to fold.
The benefit of a loose image
As we said before, if you are considered a tight player your opponents will fold when you get strong hands but if you have a loose table image you have more chances of being paid off with good hands. This happens because in order to have a loose image you’ll have to bet and raise frequently and your opponents will be aware that you are not able to have a good hand all the time. Therefore, they’ll call you down waiting to see if you are bluffing.
However, you will not get paid off in all your string hands just because you play loosely. It only means that your opponents will call you down more often than if you were considered a tight player.
The main disadvantage of the loose image is that you are at risk of losing several chips while you try to build yourself a loose image. When you enter several pots with bad hands, you will probably find yourself in difficult situations, with marginal holdings and as a result you’ll lose chips in the process.
Poker table image evaluation
There pros and cons for both table images, the loose one and the tight one. On the other hand, it’s difficult to say which one is more profitable in the long term. If you use them right, both images can pay off at the poker table. Yet, the truth is that you’ll experience more variance when you play poker Texas Hold’em in the loose style and with a loose image than with a tight image.
You’ll get greater rewards with the loose table image, though both of them have their own benefits.
Remember that table image will only work if your opponents take notice of the way in which you play. If the other players don’t care about the way in which you are playing, then you have no way of creating a table image. This mainly happens at the micro stakes, where the other players will mainly care about the way they are playing their hands. As a result, the importance of table image increases with higher stakes and against experienced players.