The players you will face over the felt generally fall into four specific categories and we shall look at each category in turn, discussing their strengths and weaknesses, as well as how you can counteract them.
The Tight Passive
This player is the easiest to play against. He rarely plays a hand and, when he does, he never raises, preferring to limp in or call. Bear in mind that he normally only plays very good hands, so he may call your bets and your bluffs. Easy to predict and play against, if you find tight passive players at a table sit down fast before anyone else does.
The Loose Passive
The loose passive loves to play and so he enters many hands (thats the loose part). However, he doesnt raise and rarely bets, preferring checking and calling. Because he plays so many hands, it can be harder to predict what he is holding. However, seeing as he enters almost every pot, you can generally assume it to be junk. Another easy player to face, only slightly complicated by the fact that he can sometimes get lucky and hit strange flops with his two random cards, catching you unawares at times.
The Loose Aggressive
Also known as the maniac, this player knows no bounds. He has never seen two cards he didnt like and generally bets, raises and re-raises with them. It can be hard to play against the maniac because of his hyper-aggressive play and constant bullying. Normally, it is best to wait for a premium hand and let him bet his chips to you.
The Tight Aggressive
The tight aggressive player stands at the top of the poker food chain. He plays few hands, but when he does enter a pot, he comes out with all guns blazing. He picks his moments and his timed aggression, combined with superior hand selection, make him a formidable opponent. Play carefully against this one because he also mixes up his play and usually represents a more experienced poker player.
Read and categorize
When you sit down at a poker table, try and spend a little time categorizing the other players. It will help you make the right decisions against your opponents and help you exploit patterns and weaknesses in their game.
Poker is a game of information, so keep your eyes peeled, reconnoiter the table and categorize the enemy. After all, poker is war.