This weekend I sat down with my painfully depleted bankroll at a $20 max NL game. I was playing pretty poorly, basically how I play at the WNP game but without any reads or aggressive plays (loose passive all the way, baby!). And people could tell; they were calling my raises ultra light and stealing on the flop more often than not.
So in response I went into ultra-nit mode, waiting for a top 15% hand and raising hard and playing hard post flop. I did better and felt better about my play, but again, my opponents caught on and started folding to my aggression more and more.
For example, a loose-aggressive maniac type of player sat down with $3 and just started shipping every other hand. He would raise hard if anyone limped (I'm talking like a $3 raise in a $0.10/$0.20 game), and ship on top of a normal raise. Eventually he built his stack up to about $12. I had been nitting it up ever since he sat down, so I basically thought "oh great, I just need a good hand and I'll stack this guy no problem." BUT, any time I showed any aggression at all, he would back down. So, again, I find myself missing out on opportunities to make money because of my image.
It seems like whenever I try to establish an image either way, I either turn into an uber-nit, or a loose passive spew-monkey. I would like to change that.
So, I guess my question for the group is, how much does image factor into your play, both your own and that of your opponents? How do you control your image, and how do you play back against opponents with a well defined image?