In that latter case, what often has happened is a player has done something to draw attention to him/herself -- e.g., raised preflop from early position with a trash hand, or called someone down with queen high, or something similarly conspicuous -- then subsequently plays in a manner that exploits those who are expecting him/her to play that way again. I suppose you’d call what they are doing consciously creating a false image, then profiting when others mistakenly assume they are incapable of changing their style.
There’s another sort of player, though, who consciously creates an image, but doesn’t appear to do so for any “metagame” reasons. Or if s/he does, that’s apparently just a secondary purpose.
I’m talking about the guy who by whatever means he can makes sure the table is paying attention to him at all times, basically just to be in the spotlight. Like I say, he may be partly motivated by the hope to rile others up and thus take advantage by tilting them, but (practically speaking) his primary purpose amounts to making sure everyone understands clearly the following message: “I’m a horse’s arse.”
Was playing with such a dude yesterday, whom we’ll call MrJerky. He takes a seat with $100, that is one hundred big bets. Already a minor attention-getter. (The default at PokerStars for this limit is $20, and most players tend to start with that.) Stack sizes generally don’t mean too much at the LHE tables, other than perhaps showing others at the table whether you’ve been winning or losing. Anyhow, after winning a hand early with a king-high straight when a poor player called him down with bottom two pair, MrJerky types a facetious “thx” in the chatbox. An introduction, of sorts.
When he adds “should have folded when yourten was no good,” it’s clear we have ourselves a self-styled lecturer. Later, holding pocket deuces, he unsuccessfully tries to bluff another player out of a hand who actually has a straight himself, then predictably criticizes his opponent’s play in the chatbox. “call of the donk,” he types.
I’m watching all of this, noting as well that in terms of his play he’s actually being loose-aggressive before the flop, but fairly passive afterwards, doing a lot of calling with middle or lower pairs (when not occasionally bluffing). I’d been steering clear with my mostly poor starting hands. In fact, after 30 hands or so the only one I’d shown down was ace-king, and so if anyone was paying attention to my image it was that of an overly tight nit.
Then came a hand in which I drew on the button. It folded to me and I decided to raise. The small blind called, then MrJerky three-bet from the big blind. Would probably have to outdraw here, I knew, but I called as did the SB. The flop brought two clubs, and when MrJerky bet I raised. The SB folded and MrJerky just called. The turn was the , MrJerky bet the dollar, and I called. The river brought my flush, MrJerky bet, I raised, he called, and I took the $12 pot as he mucked pocket queens.
The epithets that followed were expected. “donkey,” he began. “faaaag.” “raise with that.” “come on.” “raise with crap.”
Two orbits later MrJerky limped from UTG, and I open-raised from the cutoff with Q-T. The flop came , and when MrJerky bet out I raised him with my middle pair. When he just called, I suspected he didn’t have the king. When another king came on the turn, I was even more sure. He check-called me down and showed J-T. I’d taken another pot from him, sending him into further hysterics. “dude u r an idiot,” he opined. “ill get u.” “then u will be broke.”
It was about three orbits later when I finally picked up a real hand -- two red aces. On the button, too. Perfect, I thought. The table very nicely folded to me, and I raised. The SB three-bet, and MrJerky capped it from the big blind, typing “here we go.” I called, and the SB, suspecting further trouble ahead, surprisingly folded.
The flop came and MrJerky instantly fired out a bet. I just called, figuring him for just about any two cards here. (Should have raised, I know, but the decision didn’t matter too much.) The turn was the somewhat-troubling , but when MrJerky bet I decided to raise. I figured it likely he had a club, which meant unless he’d lucked into a straight he had at best just a pair. He instantly three-bet back, making me think maybe he had actually picked up two pair here. Or was it possible he had pocket queens, again? Didn’t like the looks of things, but I wasn’t going away. I just called.
The river was the , he bet, I called, and he turned over for the flush.
“lol” he typed. “idiot.”
So it goes. Sometimes the guy who caps it with deuce-trey cracks aces. I smiled, vaguely noting the coincidence of his having made a club flush to top my big pair after I had done the same to him earlier. In fact, now that I look back at the hand, I actually don’t think our respective efforts at cultivating images really had much effect at all on how that hand played out. Perhaps he’d only have called the three bets preflop (thus keeping the SB in the hand). But I don’t think he’s folding his sooted cards. And from there the hand played itself.
MrJerky gave back a few chips, then left the table a couple of bucks shy of where he’d started. It was easy to tell how he’d done, since he came with that hundy. That everyone noticed was all part of his plan, I suppose.