Creating Poker Table Image

Quality cards, chip stacks, and sound strategy are three fundamentals of poker. But table image can mean everything win it comes to winning or losing!

Chris "Jesus" Ferguson has created one of poker's most recognizable table images.

Chris "Jesus" Ferguson has created one of poker's most recognizable table images.

A psychological game is always going on as the cards are being played, and to be successful, you must hide who you are, while reading the personalities of your opponents. This, in essence, is called table image. Your table image is how other players view you, and how you view them.

Watching professional poker is a great tutorial for table image. The pros have worked for years reading player images sand disguising their own poker identities. There are players with trademark monikers – Greg “Fossilman” Raymer’s hologram glasses; Phil “Unabomber” Laak’s hooded grey sweat jacket; and Sammy Farha’s unlit cigarette – that help cultivate their table image.

It goes way beyond sunglasses and cigarettes, however, and good players will watch your every move, even if they don’t seem like they’re paying attention. They will psych-out the weaker players and manipulate the game in their favor. And when it comes to selling a lie, a good poker player puts a used-car salesman to shame.

Regardless of what personality you take to the table, it doesn’t matter what others think. It only matters that they buy what you’re selling.

What’s great about table image is that you don’t have to stick with the same one. It can be totally different than your personality, an alter ego of sorts. You create a personality that adheres to the competition and scenario—one that can be controlled in order to keep the competition guessing.

Sign up for Full Tilt Poker today!

Here are three types of table image common in poker:

The Thinking Man: Professional poker player Howard Lederer is the poster child for this type of player. His nickname, after all, is “The Professor”. Players like Lederer are intellectual and use their mathematical skills to clean up at the table. These players may be boring, but their persistent studying of players and the game makes them dangerous.

The Neighborhood Bully: Aggressive players aren’t shy about letting you know they adore themselves. They can be loud, cocky, trash-talkers who use their often obnoxious personalities to rattle their opponents. These players will often bluff, raise and generally push the table around.

They’re often the most successful players at the table, too, as long as they realize when to back off and not cross the line. And, like in life, it’s always good from the perspective of the other players when the bully gets bounced from the table.

The Shy Guy: Unless you are skilled at taking advantage of this persona, this type of table image usually ends in disaster. The shy guy shows no aggression, checks and calls a lot, doesn’t raise enough, and generally plays tight and passive. Generally, if you sit down at the table and get labeled with this moniker, it’s like having a sign tattooed on your forehead saying, “please take all of my chips.” If you’re a soft-spoken person and have a personality that will keep you from winning, use the poker table as the place to bring out the extravert in you.