What is a REG in Poker?

Regs in Poker Games

Regs Explained: How to Spot Them, Avoid Them or Beat Them

The seemingly simple question from newer players of ‘What is a Reg’ in poker quickly uncovers a lot of information that will help you learn to beat the games.

First, the short answer: Reg stands for ‘Regular’. It refers to people who are playing frequently, in some cases every day over multiple tables.

You might assume that to be playing every day, each ‘Reg’ must be winning. If not, they’d be supplying a lot of money to the tables by playing all the time. This is true to an extent. There are losing regs, small winners and break even players that rely on bonuses or promotions to make money.

What regs have in common is that they play a lot of tables at once.

This creates an imbalance.

A recreational player might choose one or two tables to sit at. Experienced regulars might well play at 8 tables+. Sometimes, you will find a lot of tables all full of multi-tabling regulars. I’m sure you can understand why this would not be a profitable game.

Winning poker players actively choose the games which are the most profitable. That means avoiding the regs and seeking out the fish.

Your First Step: Tagging the Regulars

How to Spot RegsWhether you play in the Texas Hold’em Cash games, sit and goes or PLO, it will only take a handful of sessions before you see the same faces start to appear. If your site allows it, scan through the lobby, checking out the full tables. You will see who is sitting at them all.

For now, just tag them. Most sites use colors, some use icons. Choose one which is neutral, though immediately shows you who are the regs next time you log on. You do not yet know if you found a good reg or a bad one, though a quick note of which game and stakes can get you started.

Patterns in Timing and Number of Regs

Many poker players treat the games as a job. During the daytime sessions, there are noticeably fewer recreational / fun players. The tables can easily fill up with poker regs in the quiet morning hours.

The European evenings, then North American evenings, see a better balance. This time of day gets the working / college regulars, who subsidize their income from the tables.

By understanding how these patterns work on your site, you will get an insight into the best times to enjoy the games. Offshore sites like Bovada and America’s Cardroom have a US audience, while the big name sites like Unibet and 888 are popular in Europe / UK.

Avoid the Regs: Even if You Can Beat Them

Some players let their ego get in the way of table selection. They know they can beat regs, and so don’t worry about choosing tables where there are none sat in the games.

This is nonsensical.

Even if you beat them over time, your edge against an experienced multi-tabling regular will never be as big as against an inexperienced ‘fish’. The magnitude of their mistakes is smaller, they can read hands and situations, and will lose less than fish when behind and squeeze more value from you when they are ahead.

You lose by spending time not playing against the worst players.

Since you tagged the regs already, it should be easy to choose tables with only 1 or 2 sat down.

Next Step: Take Notes and Exploit their Play.

Beating RegularsIn order to play over multiple tables, regulars will have a simplified way of playing. They will often have set starting hands from each position, and continuation bet with a predictable frequency. They will often have bet sizes tailored to different flop types or situations.

Start to take notes whenever you see a showdown involving a regular player. It is possible you will find bet sizing information which will show you when they are strong or weak, or when they have a made hand vs a drawing hand.

The more notes you get, the better you can see which regs are winning and which are breakeven.

A simple example might happen with a marginal hand. If you know that a specific reg is super-tight from early position, then you can fold, if they raise every button, then you can reraise or call depending on the setup.

Some Sites Have More Regs than Others.

When people debate which poker site has the easiest / fishiest poker games, they are referring to the number of regulars compared to recreational players. There are big differences. One thing to look out for is whether a site incentivizes playing at multiple tables. If there are rakeback deals, you often get hordes of break-even players playing like nits and waiting for the occasional fish to appear.

More recreational sites include Unibet – which still attracts a lot of first time players all these years later. Bovada is a fantastic option in the USA. This is a famous sportsbook, with a lot of players crossing over after placing a bet.

Should You Become a Reg?

Well, it’s a way of making some money – which is an attractive option in these uncertain days.

On balance I would say no.

The main reason is that there is no faster way to fall out of love with the game. It goes from being a mental challenge to being a grind. Most players that make the jump early don’t move up stakes or improve beyond a certain point.

If you need the cash, then I wish you the best.

If your goal is to move up to the higher stakes, sharpen your game and make some serious money, you are better off playing fewer tables, studying hard and taking shots as and when you have the bankroll.

GL at the Tables, Mark

- Check out my guide to the Softest / Fishiest Poker Sites

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