The Poker Bestiary

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Jeffrey | Poker Articles, Poker Bankroll Building

Submitted by Maurice Lefort, this article belongs to the Poker Bankroll Building series.

Note from the editor: By tradition poker players are categorized according to which animal they resemble the most in the animal kingdom. In this article Maurice describes the poker bestiary or compendium of beasts if you will.

If you are a poker shark you already know what this article is about. If you are a poker fish, you do not. But in poker, are there only fish and sharks? No, there are many kinds of animals. But do not get me wrong, this is not a zoo.

Poker players love to depict their opponents as animals, depending on how they play. A donkey designates a very bad player, or as they say online, a “donk”. Nobody likes to be called a donkey, this is not very nice. But you can use many other terms.

Phil Hellmuth in his book “Play Poker like the Pros” introduces a poker bestiary with five poker animals. The Mouse is the careful and tight player, otherwise called “rock” or “nit”. If the mouse becomes aggressive, get out of the way unless you have a monster. The Lion is the solid player using a tight-aggressive style. He plays straightforward poker for the most part and rarely bluffs.

Next in Phil’s list is the Jackal. This is the maniac player who will wreak havoc any fine balance which existed at the table before his arrival. You will need a strong stomach to sustain his wild plays and crazy bluffs. Then we have the Elephant. It is usually referred to as a calling station. He plays like if one of his fingers were glued to the call button. Avoid bluffing an elephant, as he does not know how to fold.

Finally Phil Hellmuth characterizes the Eagle as one of the best one hundred players in the entire world. The eagle has better position and better vision than any other animal and extremely sharp skills.

Online Poker Fish & Sharks

Phil used only land and air animals to describe poker players. What about the sea? The sea has already produced many renowned poker animals, the most famous of which are the fish and the shark. Interestingly, fish and shark have opposite meanings even though a shark is a fish in the animal kingdom. But the shark is such a special kind of fish that it is a category in itself.

By definition, a poker fish is a poker player with below average skills. This includes both novice players who need to learn the ropes and some players who have played for a long time. Some players just want to play for fun and do not desire to improve their skills.

On the other hand, the poker shark feeds off all kinds of fish like its counterpart the shark in the ocean. This fish has survived and evolved in the poker ocean for a long time, becoming a shark. Remember that all sharks were fish first. As you guessed, the definition of a poker shark is a top poker player who is normally the best player at the table.

Your goal as a poker player is to become a shark. You will become a shark by playing plenty of online poker, reading books & articles, using poker software tools to help your decisions & analysis and thinking a lot about the game. It takes a tremendous effort to become a poker shark, but once you get there you will enjoy the feast.

Learn to follow the Online Poker Fish

The biggest fish are whales. Interestingly in the animal kingdom a whale is not a fish but a mammal, but the poker bestiary has its own rules.

Anyway what matters here is that there are sometimes huge fish, which means that they play very very poorly. They lose their chips very fast. These fish are tunas, but if they are really huge, they are called whales. Whales are sometimes encountered at low or mid stakes no limit Texas hold’em online games. For instance, there are many whales at PlayersOnly.

By whale, I mean a player which sees more than 75% of flops in a full ring game and who can call sizable bets. This simple definition guarantees that this player will lose his money very fast.

There is no need to be a hero at the poker table if your goal is to make money. Hence you should aim at playing with weaker players. There exists software tools specifically designed to help you locate these online whales.

Smart Buddy is the ultimate software as far as poker fish finder tools are concerned. Create buddy lists that you enter into the Smart Buddy software and you will be alerted each time one of the fish in your list comes playing online.

This universal software conveniently monitors players from over 100 online poker rooms and opens the table where the fish is sitting if you click to join. You do not even need to open the online poker room software. Just one single Smart Buddy window will monitor all the online poker rooms for you.

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2 Comments to The Poker Bestiary

December 26, 2008

I want to be an eagle but in reality I’m probably still a lion/part time Jackal.

Mark’s last blog post..Caribbean Poker Classic 2008; cash game nightmare

Custom Poker Tables
December 29, 2008

Patience Mark, let’s all aim to be a shark one day =)

Custom Poker Tables’s last blog post..RFID-enabled Custom Poker Tables

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