Spotting a regular is the best way to stay out of trouble. This doesn’t mean that you want to avoid opportunities to play in pots with them, not at all, but it will help you out tremendously. To use an exaggerated example to illustrate my point, do you think a regular or a weak player is more likely to pull a triple barrel bluff? Hopefully you realize that the answer is a regular. A weak player probably doesn’t even know what the term triple barrel means, let alone how to implement. Picking up on the tendencies of a player will make it that much easier to manipulate them. You will have an easier time deciding when to call, when to fold, and when to raise. Identifying a regular is like having a cheat sheet handed to you.
There are many different ways to pinpoint a regular and each one will tell you something different. Some signs will be more obvious that others. To be completely honest, and any experienced will tell you this: finding and labeling a regular is not at all difficult to do. The only challenge is being able to figure out how you are going to utilize the information that you have. Will you fire bluffs and double barrels at a tight aggressive regular? Will you do the same against a passive regular? The first step is finding out which players know what they are doing, the next step is figuring out how to manipulate their strategy. The last step creates itself, and that step is monetization.
The obvious signs of a regular are, well, obvious. The biggest sign of a regular is a player who is on many tables at once. Most of the time a multi-tabling player is at least a regular, if not also a winning player. Now, with this particular piece of information, you will be able to form a handful of conclusions. A multi-tabler at 4-8 tables is more likely to be very strong than a player at 20 tables. 20 tables often times means that the player is their for bonuses and rewards, not true profit from game play. To take it one step further, you can safely conclude that someone playing two tables of 50NL is probably fairly weak. There are three primary sets of multi-tables: the big winners who play a fair amount of tables, but not a ton, the small winners who play a massive amount of tables, and the steady losers who play a couple tables. Figure out which user id is which and play against them accordingly.
Another obvious sign that a player is a regular is a max buy-in with the auto re-buy feature enabled. Unless they are a professional short stacker, any legitimate reg will buy in for the maximum allowed amount. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it holds true far more often than not. Building off of the full buy-in amount, regulars tend to auto re-buy on any poker site that allows it. No good player will sacrifice the opportunity to make the most money possible by sitting with a short stack. Note that while this is an obvious indicator, it is not necessarily a consistent indication. There will be plenty of instances where “fish” buy in full and have auto re-buys on. This is just another factor that you can add into your equation.
The trash talking element of online poker is a good reverse indicator of whether or not someone is a regular. Most winning players do not waste their time harassing opponents because they know that it is not productive and is more than likely only going to chase bad players away from the game. There are some notable big winners who are known for their rampant trash talk at the tables, but they are definitely in the minority. Many regulars just turn their chat off altogether. Anyone can be tempted to reply to critique from their opponents, no matter how unfounded it may be. To counter this, the simple solution is to make it completely invisible. While talking in chat boxes is not going to be the leading indicator of whether or not someone is a regular, it is still going to be one of many signals that you can use.
Less Transparent Indicators
The less transparent ways to find a regular will generally be found within the game play itself. While the previously mentioned elements could be easily observed by anyone, you will need to be playing with someone for awhile before you can get a solid grasp on their approach to the game. There is literally an infinite list of plays that could be used to identify a regular, but these general guidelines will be the most useful and applicable across the board.
Sound regulars do not make a habit of open limping. It would even be fair to say that most of them never open limp. If you see a player who is regularly tossing in nothing more than the big blind pre-flop, it is fairly safe to assume that you want them at your table. Building on this table, a regular is highly unlikely to be making min-raises. Min-raises are the go to play for players who really don’t know what to do in a certain spot. As a result, regulars are seldom found implementing them.
A good way to get a feel for someone’s play is to see them get to showdown. Look through the hand history and see what they did pre-flop, how they played the flop and so on and so forth. The beauty of online poker is that you can see what your opponents had in any given hand that goes to showdown, regardless of whether they won or lost the pot. This is going to take a little bit of added time and effort, but it is more than worth it. Being able to grab a front row seat for a player’s train of thought is invaluable. Does a certain player run big bluffs? Do they make light 4-bets in certain situations? These are the types of things that will discern between a regular winner and just another losing player.
The last and most common way for regulars to identify other regulars is through the use of various poker software. If you are using a HUD, and you definitely should be in online poker, you will be able to see how many hands of data you have on each of your opponents. If you play on a daily basis, you will quickly realize who else is there every day and who is not. If you rack up 2,000 hands on one of your opponents in the span of a week, that should tell you where they stand.
There are many different ways to pick up on who is a regular at the online poker tables. It is not all about simply finding the solid players, though; it is about exploiting them. When you use these tips to help figure out who is who, remember that the most important step is to monetize the information that you have collected and stored away in your brain. Without some profit to show for it, your skills will be rendered useless.