How to Beat Bad Poker Players

Posted by Bradley, August 17, 2014

Let’s state it right from the start = your goal in poker is to win money. This is true whether you’re playing in a cash game or a tournament. You always want to finish with the most chips.

bad poker players


It’s easiest to achieve your goal when you play against bad poker players. If your opponents are worse than you, you will tend to come out ahead and win more.

Let’s take a look at the different types of bad poker players and then discuss how you can beat them (and win their chips).


Different types of bad poker players

  • Loose - Passive = also known as a fish, or a donkey
  • Loose - Aggressive = also known as a maniac
  • Tight - Passive = also known as a rock

According to the Urban Dictionary, in the old days of poker, the bad players were called fish. Today, bad poker players are called donkeys.

bad poker player


Poker donkeys are gamblers

They're the type of player that will make wild bets with incorrect odds. Often they'll hit their miracle card, completing a gut shot straight to your dismay. Poker donkeys don't know any better. When they win hands with a run of good cards, they think that they're actually good poker players.

Poker donkeys will blame the cards if they lose, not their lack of poker skill. In the long run, the mathematics of the game of poker will ensure that poker donkeys will end up on the rail while you will emerge the winner. You need to recognize the donkeys as being bad poker players and adjust your play accordingly.


How do you beat a poker donkey?

donkey poker playerPoker donkeys (fish) love to play hands; they play more starting hands than they should. They love calling bets, without the cards to justify the action. They will chase after their flush and straight draws, hoping that the flop will bring them their miracle card.

How do you beat them? When you make a good hand, act relentlessly and keep betting. Get as many chips out of the poker donkeys as you can. You know that they're going to be calling a lot, even if they haven't yet made their hands, so you can bet big. Don't bother trying to bluff, because poker donkeys aren't going to fold.

You can win big against poker donkeys when you have good hands. Bet them for all they're worth!




How do you beat a poker maniac?

Poker maniacs bet a lot of hands and they bet them aggressively. Yes, it’s possible to win money with this method, but it’s also possible to lose a lot. They are wild players, and you can use this wildness to your advantage.

In order to beat poker maniacs you mustn’t be afraid of them. When you have good cards, don’t hesitate to make pre-flop calls. And when your cards connect on the flop, the likelihood is that you have a better hand than the maniacs. You know that they’re betting wildly, speculatively, while on your side you have based your bets on good cards.

The pots will be bigger when you play against poker maniacs and you won’t always win. But knowing how these players play will, over time, leave you ahead with more chips.

poker maniac


How do you beat a poker rock?

Poker rocks are extremely tight with their bets. These are the kind of players that just sit there and fold, waiting to hit the big hands. This obviously means that they are highly unlikely to bluff, which is why it’s easy to determine how to beat them.

You can beat a poker rock by bluffing or raising to steal the blinds. However, if this type of player responds with a call or a re-raise, he’s probably sitting on a very good hand. You will know when to fold against this player.

The poker rock


Bad poker players are good for you

The bottom line is that it’s very profitable to play against bad poker players. It should be part of your playing etiquette to make them feel wanted. If you’re playing with them at a live game, encourage them and keep them at the table. The rewards for playing against bad poker players can be immense.

The donkey image was prepared by Mediatouchgmbh and is used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

This article was inspired by an article written by Greg Walters at The Poker Bank,


Related Stories:

How to Play with Donkeys

Improve Your Texas Hold’em Skills

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