They will listen to your words and look for patterns in your betting actions. When opponents form their initial images or profiles, they tend to be sticky and unlikely to change easily. Their initial perceptions become their reality, even when they are completely wrong.
Recency bias is an important poker 889. A new player might arrive right before you go card dead for an hour or more, and conclude you are a complete nit. The next new player might arrive after the pendulum swings and see you betting and raising with several big hands in a row, none of which go to a showdown. Thin slicing tells her you are a hyper-LAG or maniac.
Amazingly, many players will tell you exactly what your image is. Once at a casino poker room, another player called me “Fort Knox” after a long stretch of folding weak hands. I pretended not to hear him at first, and got him to explain (a little louder so others at the table could hear) this meant I was super tight and never bluffed, signaling a good spot to shift gears.
Exploiting the Perception
When you get involved in a hand, of course you consider your opponent’s image and how that shapes that player’s ranges and betting actions. Also pause briefly to consider your own image. Whether that image is accurate or not doesn’t matter. What matters is how this specific opponent will respond to your betting actions based on the image he or she holds.
Then leverage your image. A “Fort Knox” can run over the table for a short stretch. If you have a LAG-gy, bullying image, grab a handful of chips without counting them and drop the stack aggressively on the table when you have a strong value hand. With a maniac image, overbet with the nuts.
Middle-aged ex-soccer moms can check-raise bluff on the river. Semi-bluffs on the turn by nitty senior citizens demand more respect than the same bets by millennials with hoodies, shades and noise-canceling headphones.