Showdown of poker personalities: From TAGs to LAGs, find your strategy in the ultimate poker player guide.

Step into any online poker room and you’re guaranteed to behold a kaleidoscope of personalities and playstyles. Cautious Nits, fearless Maniacs, strategic TAGs, adventurous LAGs, hopeful Calling Stations, calculated GTO players – the list goes on and on. Each type of competitor plays the game differently, bringing unique challenges and opportunities to the table.

So, what are these players known for? And how can you exploit these tendencies to secure your own victories? We’re here to answer all these questions and more in this go-to guide.

Here we unpack the characteristics and approaches of these six main player types. By understanding their behaviours, you’ll be able to sharpen your gameplay, whether you’re navigating a tight situation or seizing an aggressive opportunity. Plus, discover what kind of poker player you are with our Ignition Poker Player Quiz. Without further ado, let’s start getting to know the diverse personalities you’ll encounter in the world of online poker.

Poker’s cautious turtle: A Nit player folding cautiously, waiting for the perfect moment to strike from safety.

The Nit – The Poker Turtle

Picture a turtle in its shell, only peeking out when it’s safe and retreating at the first sign of a threat – that’s a Nit in the poker world. Nits are all about minimising risk, playing only the strongest hands and folding if they have no clear shot at winning.

Playing Against Nits

Since Nits only play top-tier hands, you won’t see them making big bets often. Be aggressive in rounds they aren’t involved in. On the other hand, when a Nit does bet big, tread carefully – they likely have a strong hand.


The Nit’s Impact

Nits can slow down the game and make pots smaller, but their predictability also provides a chance for you to be more daring, making strategic bluffs and bets. While it can be tempting to try and bully a Nit, the key is subtlety and picking the right spots to increase your chip stack without unnecessary risk.

Poker’s cautious turtle: A Nit player folding cautiously, waiting for the perfect moment to strike from safety.

The Maniac – The Wild Card

Some poker players are like fireworks – unpredictable, dazzling, and a bit dangerous. These players are also known as Maniacs. They love to bet big, raise often, and keep everyone on their toes, playing a wide range of hands with fearless aggression.

Playing Against Maniacs

Playing against a Maniac is like riding a roller coaster you need to buckle up. Tighten your hand selection and let them do the heavy lifting. When you have a strong hand, let the maniac build the pot for you, but be ready for wild swings. Their unpredictability means you’ll need to be on your game, reading each situation carefully.


The Maniac’s Impact

Maniacs add excitement and unpredictability to the game, often causing less experienced players to make mistakes. They can inflate pots and create opportunities for big wins (or losses). To come out on top, balance patience with opportunism. Wait for strong hands and let the Maniac push the action.

The Chess Master at work: A TAG player making a calculated move, showcasing the power of precision and aggression in their poker game.

The TAG – The Chess Master

TAG (Tight Aggressive) players are all about making precise, calculated moves. TAGs play fewer hands, but when they do, they play them aggressively. This style strikes a balance between the cautious approach of the Nit and the boldness of the Maniac, making them formidable opponents.

Playing Against TAGs

Facing a TAG requires a blend of patience and strategic foresight. Since they only enter pots with strong hands and play them aggressively, you’ll need to tighten up your own hand selection. Bluffing a TAG is tougher because they tend to have the goods when they bet. However, their selectiveness can be their Achilles’ heel. By carefully observing their patterns, you can identify opportunities to steal blinds or take advantage of their reluctance to play marginal hands.

The TAG’s Impact

TAGs command respect at the table. Their disciplined approach means they don’t give away chips easily, contributing to a more challenging and competitive environment. To succeed against a TAG, focus on hand selection and position. Play strong hands from advantageous positions and avoid getting into betting wars without a solid hand.

The LAG – The Maverick

Envision a player who zigs when others zag, someone who’s not afraid to shake things up – that’s the LAG (Loose Aggressive) player. LAGs thrive on action, playing a wide array of hands and betting aggressively to keep opponents guessing. They’re the mavericks of the poker world, using their unpredictability as a weapon.

Playing Against LAGs

To hold your own against a LAG, flexibility is key. Tighten up your hand selection, but be prepared to shift gears and fight back with aggression when you sense weakness. LAGs rely on their aggressive image to push players around; showing that you’re not easily bullied can disrupt their strategy.

The LAG’s Impact

LAGs inject the game with dynamism and volatility, often forcing players out of their comfort zones. This can lead to profitable situations for observant players who can discern the method to the LAG’s madness through keen observation. The goal isn’t to out-aggro a LAG but to strategically choose moments to confront their aggression with solid hands

Eternal optimist at the poker table: A Calling Station player, hopeful and ready for the next card, against all odds.

The Calling Station – The Optimist

We all have a friend who loves to look on the bright side of things. The eternal optimist. The glass-half-full type who has a knack for finding the silver lining. In the world of poker, that’s the Calling Station.

Known for their passive play and reluctance to fold, Calling Station players always want to see the next card, hoping for the best – even when the odds are stacked against them. They’re the optimists of the poker world, frequently calling bets in the hope of hitting their draw or unveiling a hidden gem.

Playing Against Calling Stations

The key to winning against a Calling Station is straightforward: value bet. Since they’re likely to call with weaker hands, you don’t need to bluff. Instead, focus on making bets with hands that are likely stronger than theirs.

The Calling Station’s Impact

Calling Stations contribute to a looser, more unpredictable game environment. They can also keep pots alive longer than expected. However, their passive nature can also lead to frustration for players used to aggressive or strategic opponents.

Game Theory Optimal (GTO) – The Strategist

Enter the realm of the Game Theory Optimal (GTO) player, the strategist who meticulously weaves a web of balanced plays. These players aim for perfection, mixing bluffs, value bets, and defensive plays in proportion. In short, they’re great at creating strategies that are essentially bulletproof.

Playing Against GTO Players

Battling a GTO strategist requires a nuanced approach. Since their strategy is about balance, extreme tactics like relentless aggression or passive play won’t shake them. Instead, focus on adapting your strategy to exploit specific situations.

The GTO’s Impact

The presence of a GTO player at the table elevates the game to a mental marathon, where strategic depth and adaptability are key. To counter a GTO player, you might need to embrace elements of their balanced style, incorporating a mix of aggression, caution, and unpredictability into your game. Replicating their balance can disrupt their strategy, creating opportunities for you to capitalise on.

Online poker is a world filled with diverse player types, with each bringing their own strategy to the table. From the cautious Nits to the daring Maniacs, understanding these personalities can significantly enhance your gameplay.

Keen to discover where you fall on the spectrum? Don’t forget to take our Ignition Poker Player Quiz! With the help of this interactive tool, you can uncover your own poker persona and learn how to leverage it at Ignition’s vibrant tables.