One of the most crucial things I want to ascertain as soon as I sit down at a new table is which players will provide me with the most significant value.

Although you can do things to improve the process, these will be the main focus of this post. Of course, this is no easy feat, especially if you have no prior relationship with the players.

I usually begin by scanning the table, trying to classify players, and identifying potential weak points.

Even though this will initially be a feeling, it is a feeling that is based on the countless poker hands I have played over my career.

I’ll do my best to explain the reasoning for this and provide you with some insight into how I approach certain circumstances.

Sorting Players Into Types

Even if you don’t know much about a given player, there are some assumptions you can make. These are excellent starting points.

For instance, there are a few things I may assume if I play a younger, unidentified player:

They most likely comprehend the game’s theory and hand ranges reasonably well.

They probably don’t have much life experience.

My strategy will be adjusted accordingly, and if the chance arises, I’ll try to pick up some live reads and outperform them in some larger pots.

On the other end of the spectrum, a casual player who routinely participates in live games but is presumably not very familiar with poker theory will probably find it challenging to build their ranges and play after the flop.

I’ll want to get into as many value situations as possible when playing against this kind of opponent because that’s where I’ll gain an advantage.

Taking Advantage of Passive Information

You can learn a lot about them without ever playing a single hand against a player. This might be nearly anything, including how they behave, how they speak, and even the topics they discuss.

It’s vital to remember that since these insights are ultimately somewhat superficial, you shouldn’t be too sure about them.

However, based on my experience over the years, these have been highly beneficial and are effective as general population characteristics.