Using Table Image in Poker

Manipulating table image is an advanced skill.  You’re no longer thinking about your cards or your opponents’ cards.  More times than not - you don't know them and they don't know you. The only interaction is at the table so everything they learn about your game will be what they see and read at the tables. When you manipulate your table image, you’re manipulating what your opponents think you’re capable of.  You’re entering the meta-game of poker.

Successfully exploiting your table image will make you harder to read and drastically increase your win rate.  Someone who plays ABC poker will have a hard time getting paid on their big hands because it’s easy to tell when they have the goods. They spend half the time folding and come out guns ablaze when they have a big hand. Someone with a loose image will easily get paid on their big hands because it's that much more difficult to know when they have a big hand. The trick is to establish an image contrary to your playing style.

For example, I play basic tight-aggressive poker so I like to establish a loose image. The way I do that is by doing all the things usually associated with a loose player.  I’ll post my blind out of turn and raise the first three or four hands regardless of what I’m holding. I might even showdown with a trashy hand if I can do it cheaply. With this loose image, my big hands are well disguised. Big hands in the stealing seats is even more profitable as players expect you to be stealing with garbage.  No one sees my big hands coming.

Similarly, loose-aggressive players can establish a tight image by only playing super-premium hands for the first hour or so of play.  After that a loose-aggressive player can start stealing pots because their raises will get much more respect.

The way to profit from your table image is to establish an image and then do the opposite of what your playing style suggests you will do.  Once you’re able to pull that off, you’ll find that your opponents are constantly misreading your hands and making more mistakes against you.  The more mistakes your opponents make, the more money you are makign.  Manipulating your table image isn’t easy, but it can be very profitable when it is done right.

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