Taking Advantage of Your Poker Image – Expert Tips by Fedor Holz
Last Updated: November 5, 2023
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One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that how your opponents perceive you can play a huge role in any given session. This is especially true if you’re up against players who are prone to making emotional decisions.
Those who have seen me play probably know that I always have a very intense yet emotionless stance at the tables, and this is no accident.
From my experience, projecting this type of image can easily trigger my opponents, especially those who have big egos, and allow them to influence their decisions.
Creating & Controlling Your Image
Almost without fault, I was able to get my opponents to make wrong adjustments when playing against me and commit costly mistakes.
On one side of the table, I’m playing my game, not allowing anything to get under my skin or, at the very least, not expressing my emotions.
On the other, there are my opponents who are very emotional and trying to adjust to me and this carefully cultivated image that I’ve perfected over the years.
Creating this perception at the table allowed me to have control of the game and manipulate other players into making mistakes.
Led by their emotions, they’d try more and more to take me on and outplay me. At the same time, while keeping my outer appearance unchanged, my ranges became tighter, making their plays progressively less profitable.
Two Potential (and Favorable) Outcomes
Building this very intense image that involves a forward-leaning posture and staring people down took time, but it produced the desired results.
One group of players, those with more pronounced egos, were triggered by it, leading to them playing more hands against me in bad spots, just wanting to outplay me.
In the other group were those players who were intimidated by this table image, causing them to avoid getting involved and probably passing on some +EV opportunities from the purely mathematical perspective.
In both cases, my table image helped me gain a significant in-game advantage, especially against weaker players who give way to their emotions.
All this is to say that creating and maintaining a specific poker image can be a great opportunity for you to skew the way your opponents perceive you and gain the upper hand. You don’t necessarily have to mimic my approach, as there are many other table images or “personas” that can help you achieve that goal.
The important thing is that you stay aware of your poker image and realize that you have a lot of control over how you’ll be perceived by other players.
To wrap it up, I’m not trying to say that building and maintaining a certain image is the most important thing in live poker. There are many other skills that you’ll probably want to master before or alongside it.
However, it is another very useful tool that, when used correctly, can help further boost your win rate in the long run and give you the confidence you’ll need as you move up the stakes and games get tougher!