Glass half-full or half empty--reading opponents on RP

You come across all kinds of opponents on RP, and it helps a lot if you know what they are doing. Sometimes they will help you by showing their cards.

For example a couple days ago in a tournament I put in a preflop raise with 88 and had a caller in the BB, and with a pretty wet board and 2 overcards opponent put in a largish bet on the river, to which I folded, because his play seemed a bit odd, but I had no idea what his game was.

He triumphantly showed a pair of 4s, revealing that he had called the raise with 46o and that he had called a pot sized flop bet with, basically, nothing.

So I took quite a beating on this hand, and he was whisked away to another table. In the meanwhile I rebuilt my stack, and then he returned to my table, now seated immediately to my left. I was in the SB and called an early raise with KJo, and villain also called the raise from BB. Flop comes JJ6. Check, check, shove, fold, call and he turns over a pair of 6s (46 again!). Turn brings my 4th Jack and he is drawing very dead indeed.

One good way of categorising opponents is whether they are glass half full types, or glass half empty types.

I was in the BB with nothing much as two opponents limped in my direction. Both were fairly tight aggressive players, so why are they limping? They want to see a flop with hands that might be monsters with the right flop. The first limper (A) was very tight, and the second limper (B) was on the button and taking advantage of the enhanced odds, having to put in 1BB for a shot at a pot now containing 2 1/2 BB.

I don’t remember what I had, but I decided to try a squeeze play and put in a big raise. Both opponents folded, so I picked up 3 1/2 BB. The opponent in early position showed their cards (66) but I did not reciprocate. I had suspected that this player was trying to see a cheap flop with a small pair, but was unwilling to pay a high price for the honor, and now that he/she had folded, button did not have the odds to call either, so was forced to fold.

However if player A had been a glass half full type player, they would have called any preflop raise to try to see a flop and mine a set, so the play would not have worked. The glass half full player would likely have flat-called a pot sized bet on the flop too, leaving a difficult set up for later streets.

In the hand below we see the glass half full thinking in process again. Tilt a half full glass and see what happens.

There is an early limper, then I limp in from SB with KK, and BB raises to 6BB. This looks like a scared bet to me. BB does not really want to see a flop, so most likely not AA. Early limper folds, and now I shove.

BB INSTANTLY calls. Why? What cards could I hold. As he has TT, the hands he is most likely up against are AA, KK, QQ, or any two overcards to TT. OK, he dominates AT, but would I shove AT?

Having spent an hour building a good stack with a good position in the tournament, why is he willing to call off half his stack when he is 50/50 at best against my range?

Here is what happens,and you will see this a LOT in RP tournaments.

  1. Opponent has not had a decent hand for a while, but he picks up TT. He is EXCITED. “Right” he thinks, “I am chips-in here, so let’s blow these limpers away as I really don’t want a call in case an A comes on the flop.”
  2. Unexpectedly SB shoves. “OK, smartypants, you think I am going to be bluffed off my TT. You limped and now you are shoving with a suited ace or something like that? Even if you have AK or AQ I am still favorite.”
  3. "No, I was not tilting when SB shoved. I was not over excited about getting TT. OK I lost half my stack, but you have to take some risks to win.

[Hand #745949707 · Replay Poker ]

Here is also another observation about opponents.

Much has been said about RP rankings based on bankroll status. It is perfectly true that you cannot tell how good a player is based on their number of chips, as they may just have started out, but be the next Kid Poker in the making.

Well, yes, but when you are playing in tournaments that cost 1-million, 2.5-million, and 5-million chips to enter and you see that your opponent s ranked at about #4000, this means that they have committed 20% or more of their bankroll to enter this tournament–maybe even their entire bankroll.

They may be great players, but chances are that they have not regularly made final tables in this set of tournaments over a long period of time, and will be prone to making blunders at key moments, so when you spot these players it can pay off very quickly to study their playing style.

Since it costs, I think, $99 to buy 3 1/2 million chips, are some people really buying play money chips so that they can pay $30 to enter a play money tournament? This cannot be ruled out.


I think the most important thing you mentioned is that players who have folded a lot recently are a lot more likely to be sticky with their good hands and to not be bluffed out which is a very important observation.


I’ve been coming at this from a different direction. If we can identify a players personality type (I use Jungian archetypes) it will tell us exactly how they will approach the game. Ranges, tendencies, and frequencies are all direct results of their personality type.

It’s relatively easy to identify their primary trait. The name they use, the avatar they choose, and what they say (or don’t say) in their profiles are some of the many clues available to us. Identifying the secondary and tertiary traits are a little harder, but each level provides more detail to the bigger picture.

If you get it right, it’s possible to know what action a player will take… often before they know.


I sincerely want to know which Jungian archetype my knitting avatar places me in! hahahaa And the pffffft–what does that say? I know you know my motivation has been keeping the game going, enjoying the company at the table. That part will be easy to analyze! (I do hope this isn’t going off-topic.) Just as a clue: Knitters, I believe, are full of hope!


Hahahahahaha ! There is absolutely no way you can tell what an online poker player will do in advance. No one knows exactly who is who or what. On any given day the spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, kids, grandkids, the uncle from the left side of the family, the neighbors next door that share your Internet account like they do your 4 tv Netflix account, etc could be playing a few games on that account. Keeping notes ? Yup you can try but good luck with that too. We do the best we can with the cards we are dealt but the rest is a crap shoot.

Hilarious :joy:


I guess I need to re-evaluate your profile. I thought that blue thing was a bib, and that the “pffffft” was you choking on that pile of meatballs on your right.


I am pretty sure our friend SS intended that pfffffffffft on my avatar to relate in some way to digestive processes, given her propensity for celebrating the end stages of food ingestion by mammals.


I knew you would say something like that.

But no, of course it’s not 100% reliable, but it comes close sometimes.

I’m not ready to publish in-depth info just yet… stay tuned.

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I could actually be one of the Peterson singing group kids posted in the song thread ahaha, ahaha :rofl:


Yes you could be!


To me, this question is not so simple. If you had QQ+, why would you limp-shove (3-bet) from the button? The passive-aggressive line you took was confusing – show me how often a pro would limp-shove KK from the button in a tournament. How does your opponent know that your range is exactly QQ+ in this situation, unless it was known that it is typical for you to limp in with QQ+? Why could it not be AK or AQs or a middle pair? With limited knowledge, maybe calling a 16BB shove with TT was not so terrible here, but I don’t have a complex understanding of poker (and especially tournament play) and stand to be corrected. Of course, it is true that most players on Replay don’t bluff often, and I would normally consider a 3-Bet shove to be a value-heavy bet.


I sincerely want to know which Jungian archetype my knitting avatar places me in!

The Innocent (Based on information in RP bio.)

She seeks safety and fears abandonment and punishment.

She has a positive, optimistic and sometimes naive outlook on life, and a tendency to deny problems and put too much trust in others.

Her shadow sides are her proclivity to avoid conflict and to live in denial.

Her qualities are loyalty, trust, integrity, optimism and open-mindedness.


Well, to make it to the final table of a tourney of 30 people who start with 5000 chips, you need to get to 20K chips to have a chance. The best way to double your stack is to ambush someone with a monster.

So you have to be a predator, preying on your neighbours to win small pots around the blinds to maintain your stack from blinds erosion, while looking for chances to double up.

If you start with 5000 and your stack dwindles to 2500 and the blinds are 100/200, then you become increasingly impotent and your chances of making it to the final table are slight.


Nailed it!! Well played, BuffaloKing.

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Notice that I diplomatically side stepped the question!


Found another new player again tonight. Again, after paying for the tournament entrance fee he had only 1 1/2 buy-ins left.

He started off with huge raises, massive bluffs, and built a large stack and promptly lost it 3 times. He had amazing luck, for example flopped a straight with a 2-gapper versus my KK, but fortunately had no idea how to maximize his winnings on many of the pots that he won, but then got super lucky when he made a K high flush versus a Q high flush and crippled one of the top players on RP. He made flush after flush and was riding high, but gradually the regulars figured him out and he started to lose some pots and the more he lost, the more he tilted. Before the first hour was over, he was a goner.

It really does seem to be the case that some people are actually paying out as much as $30 to buy enough chips to enter a single play-money tournament. COVID quarantine can do that to people.

You can do what on earth you want with your money, but I don’t think you will learn much about how to play poker if you just hold your nose and jump in the deep end.


That, in fact, is a very good poker strategy. If you side-step a risky hand, someone else just may step in and duke it out with the high roller, and if either one of them goes down, it’s all to the good for you. I use this strategy frequently.


Yes, I know you do. This is why I bluff you so much!

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If only you were always bluffing! lol
I am staying in longer these days–and letting the river card bring me magic (sometimes).


I was not specifically questioning your play here, which worked, and perhaps has its place. What I was asking is if we can fault your opponent for calling your 3-bet shove, given that you limped in from the BB. Maybe it was the case that your play was good, not that his was bad.