The Book Player

published on 11/21/05 at 8:33 am

When you’re running low on Kryptonite, sometimes the best way to beat an opponent is to know them better than they know themselves..

Not everyone plays poker the same way. In fact, one of the great difficulties in mastering the game lies in one’s ability to handle the wild variation in playing styles. This factor in my belief, more than any other, is what separates the contributors from the accumulators ie., the winners from the losers. This holds true online as well as face to face.

You can find player descriptions in many a good poker book. This is just my description/summation of the styles and most definitely not definitive.

The most common player you will see on any table is the Book Player. There is at least one around every corner. They are called book players because they sit at a table looking like they swallowed the poker book they most recently read and are finding it difficult to pass. They are predictable right down to their semi-bluffs, and anything they do is going to be because the book told them to do it that way. Extreme ‘bookers’ will even be able to give you their playing stats week to week: the number of hands they played, their tournament stats, and even their profit/loss and return on investment numbers expressed as a percentage. I have even had one booker give me a bacteria count on the milk of human kindness. In their professional life they are probably accountants, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The best way to spot a booker is to watch what they do in position. They raise ‘on the button’ almost religiously and sometimes one off the button, but never ‘under the gun’. They raise 5 times the blind with big pocket pairs, 3.5 times the blind with AQ and basically tell you their hand with predictable bet sizes. If the flop is ugly they will bet pot and try to end the hand early. If you call they will most likely check or make another attempt to ‘bet you out’ with another larger pot bet, especially if they think you are fishing for cards. Be prepared to wait this guy or girl out. They will either make a mistake through a misread trying to bully you out of a pot or they will get eaten away slowly when they continually bet ‘pot’ with A10 in their hand and nothing helpful on the board to a serial calling pest who hits two pair or a set playing 7 2 suited.

In table talk, they are the ones who will pretty much lay out their playing strategy as a novices playing guide to poker and will berate anyone they catch who doesn’t follow ‘the rules’. You will hear/read them say ‘you called a 3 times big blind button raise with K 7 off suit ‘Fing amateur!.’ I love these guys! They are fodder for anyone with an ounce of skill in misdirection. They are the Trapper/Mixer’s staple diet. In bigger tournaments they will usually make the top 50% because they play limited hands. A solid booker will usually make the top 25% unless they get unlucky. When putting on their ‘poker face’they will either look like the cat that ate the cream or like they just ate a raw lemon. That face will be locked in position until they take a toilet break unless it shades red when they are telling another player why they shouldn’t have been able to win the previous hand playing rags. Best two word description: Anal Retentive.

Crazy Snake is a professional sports handicapper and amateur poker player. He has made a profit year after year through his knowledge of Aussie Rules Football, NFL, tennis, and golf. He is a senior writer for

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