Phils Animal Poker Types
Tue 18 July 2017
These are the five animals: the mouse, lion, jackal, elephant, and eagle. I have created these animals because they seem to be the most common types out there right now.
The mouse is like your old aunt Edna, a conservative type who probably wouldn't even approve of your reading this book. The mouse—like you—plays only the top ten hands but hates to invest any money with a hand as weak as 7-7 or 8-8. The mouse hardly ever raises someone else's bet; but when he does raise, look out, because he has the goods!
The lion is a tough competitor who plays fairly tight poker but doesn't limit himself to the top ten hands. He bluffs with excellent timing and seems to know when the other players are trying to bluff him. Though he plays pretty tight, he's occasionally out on a limb with a bluff or a semibluff. You could do worse than play like the lion.
The jackal is loose and wild, and some days it seems as though he's just giving his money away. Because he's involved in so many pots and raises so often, his play can take some pretty big swings. The jackal's logic seems at odds with the logic of all the other players. He just seems crazy! (He's what many of us in poker call a megalomaniac, or sometimes just maniac.) The jackal can hurt you and himself too with his crazy play, because he puts in so many bets. But there is some method to his madness. He's good at raising the pots at the right times (his style of play gives him many occasions to think about what's going on), and when he does at last win a pot, it's generally huge! If a jackal runs hot by catching good cards for a while, you may become convinced that he's the best player in the world, but when his cards come back to earth, he can lose money as fast as he won it.
The elephant is fairly loose (which means he plays a lot of pots) and seems to be from Missouri, the "Show me" state. He's what we refer to in poker as a "calling station": he never folds when he is supposed to fold, because he doesn't ever believe that you have the goods. Because he's impossible to bluff, no one with much experience ever tries to bluff him—with one exception: can you guess who that is? The elephant keeps feeding the other players his chips, slowly but surely. The elephant isn't very sharp and isn't a very dangerous opponent for most players, but he seems to do well against the jackal, because the jackal keeps on trying to bluff the elephant.
Finally, we have the eagle. The eagle is a rare bird, and you might not ever play with him, because he's one of the top 100 poker players in the world. You'll find the eagle wherever high-stakes poker is played. He flies around high in the sky and swoops down to eat other animals' chips when he's hungry! You'll find the eagles competing every year at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), trying to win world championships and the money and prestige that come with winning them—if not in the tournaments, then perhaps in the big-money side games the WSOP always generates. Learning how to play like an eagle is a lofty and worthwhile goal, but it is beyond the scope of this book. (In fact, if you're able to absorb everything in this book, then perhaps I'll see you sitting across the table from me soon.)
Now that we've pondered the personalities of most of the animals (players) that you'll be playing against, it's time to move forward with some examples of how to play the top ten hands to perfection. (As we proceed, you'll see the value of recognizing these personality types.) Again, the basic premise in playing the top ten hands is this: always raise or reraise with these hands before the flop, no matter what the action has been before it's your turn to act. (While I lay out these examples, I'll begin to weave into the equations some ways to play the hands somewhat differently, depending on which animals you're playing against.)