Sports & Games

Table Image and Metagame

Daniel Negreanu

Lesson time 15:53 min

Daniel teaches you how to use your table image and play the metagame to get inside your opponent’s head and stay one step ahead.

Daniel Negreanu
Teaches Poker
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Whatever you're playing-- tournaments, cash, live, online-- a table image is going to play a big role in terms of how people perceive you. The way that I look at it-- this is a discussion about self-awareness. One of the more valuable assets that I think that I've been able to have success with throughout my career is being self-aware enough to know when I feel like my opponents think I'm playing well, when they think I'm playing aggressively, poorly, whether they think they're better than me or not, and always adapting and adjusting, like a chameleon would, to the ever-changing personas that people are putting on me in terms of how others perceive me. So in order to actually cultivate a table image that works for you, you have to be very self-aware. When you sit at a table, how do people perceive you? What do they think of you? Do they see you as a nerdy school kid who has been bullied? Are they going to try to bully you? Do they see you as someone who's more of a macho, aggressive player who likes to push people around? Do they see you as intelligent, foolish, aggressive? If you're not aware of how people perceive you, you can exploit your table image. That's the most important thing. So one of the things you can do as well to shape your table image is be very wary of the hands you're showing, the table talk, what you wear, what information you give away. Because when you sit down at a table, whatever you're wearing is information. If you show up at a table wearing sunglasses, a hat, and have headphones in, what message are you sending? You're sending a message that you're there to work. You're not there to be social and have fun. You're there to work. So is that the message you want to send? Maybe. And if so, how are you going to exploit that? So first and foremost, we need to understand that self-awareness is key, and then learn from whatever you choose as your table image. How do you exploit that? If your table image is one of a very, very tight player who never bluffs, how do you exploit that? If your table image is a wild and crazy player, how do you exploit that? I love that part. That's essentially the meta game at the highest level that is the most fascinating to me. When you sit down at a poker table and you've never played with anyone, you're giving away some information. The information you're giving away is your demeanor, what you're wearing, how much you buy in for, and the like. But as the game progresses, there's other information your opponents are going to collect. So the question is what do you do when, all of a sudden, you just start running really bad. How are people going to adjust against that? And then I think typically, when that happens, your table image is quite shot. So they're not going to be as afraid of you. Typically people are afraid of people who are winning a lot. And if you just lose every hand, people are going to maybe run more elaborate bluffs against you. They're going to try to push you aro...

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Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Just watched Daniel's Master Class and have taken some preliminary notes to help improve my game already. I've opened a ledger book and note books to track my play and am looking forward to viewing the class many many more times to make more notes and more improvements. Great class Daniel and I'll see you July 4!

Daniel seems such a wonderful being, plus he tought me some good lessons in Poker: I hope to improve

I always enjoyed Daniel's enthusiasm at the tables,but finally got to see and learn about the effort that is the foundation of his game. People with passion are the easiest to learn from and the most fun to be around, it's been delightful, Daniel!

Ton of new concepts, great explanations and examples. Great class.


A fellow student

Im a new player but i already use this image stuff greatly and it works wonders, ive thought the way negreanu teaches the whole time ive played poker, it really is so important.

A fellow student

I just want to say that this lesson rung a bell for me. I was enjoying a diet of 3 days at the casino making steady bank, when my poker life was shook. I sat down to a table and watched a guy fold a hand post-flop when he could have checked. I instantly graded him as a fish and proceeded to lose all my chips to him in a few hands. I re-bought, someone else busted and a new player came in, and this villain did the same thing; he folded a hand post-flop on a cheap play! He then proceeded to continue cleaning up. Third new player, same thing!! I picked up my chips (I had made back most of my roll) and left. I felt so WHAMboozled that I never trusted the poker room again. I didn't return for four years...


One thing I often do when I join a new game where it is clear there are some regulars (and I'm "the new guy") is open limp. Play a few too many hands early. And play passive pre flop for a few hands. Because many folks are so quick to categorize one as a "newbie" or "weak" or an "amateur"...and because they tend to hold onto that impression more so than any other reaction...I then make subtle shifts to my more natural TAG or LAG, trappy, tricky, three barrel, etc. The early image is an -EV short term play but then becomes +EV quickly thereafter. You'd be surprised how few of the guys who consider themselves "pros" adjust to my original image.