• July 30, 2021

Poker strategy: Poker Player Styles

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Poker is not just a card game, but a game of people played with cards. As you progress through the stages towards poker expertise, you will experience moments when you realize how powerful this statement is. In this lesson we’ll be looking at some of the basic poker playing styles that exist and how to spot them. Whether you’re playing online or playing live, when you observe the types of decisions your opponents make you can really pick up on their tendencies, psychologically and emotionally – that can help you determine how best to play against them.
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Poker is a game of observation. Therefore the first step to defining a player’s playing style is to observe their general tendencies. This factor is the central core of poker success. Learning your opponents’ proclivities is a must if you intend to become a winning player. Every action an opponent takes means something. Why from that position did player x raise or just call? It cannot be stressed enough to pay attention, especially when not in a hand to learn how your opponents think and act.
Tight Aggressive (TAG)
A tight aggressive player plays very few hands, relative to how many he is dealt, but when he does play a hand he is very aggressive, betting, raising and check raising. A typical tight aggressive player will only play about 20% of hands that are dealt to him. Tight aggressive players are the sharks in the poker ocean. The vast majority of long term profitable poker players fall under this tight aggressive category.
Why is the tight aggressive style a winning style? Poker rewards two things above all else, and that is patience and aggression. The tight aggressive player is a master at both. He waits on hands where he has the edge and then bets them aggressively. There are no major weaknesses to this style. One slight weakness can be observed in many TAGs, when the table becomes short handed. Now their “tightness” can play against them, as blinds and antes are more frequent, and players must open up their starting hand requirements a good bit to compensate. In fact many tight aggressive players become a bit “tight passive” when it is short handed poker.
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Tight Passive (TP)
A tight passive player has great patience, and this is a good attribute to have. However, this player is not very aggressive, and this works against him. Tight passive players are often called rocks in poker. It takes a great force to get them moving. Tight passive players are usually profitable players too, if they pick their games well. They will make money from the weakest players in the game, loose passive players. However, they are easy marks to solid players who recognize them for their tight passive play. A tight passive player at a shorthanded table against TAGs will lose money fast, because the aggressive players will steal his blinds and antes practically every hand, and know to get out of the way when the tight passive player finally starts betting.
Tight passive play can be a winning style, but it is strongly suggested that if you find that you are a tight passive poker player, to recognize this as a weakness. Ratchet up the aggression on your good hands. Bet out with those 4 flushes on the flop, or even raise with them to get a free card on the turn every now and then. A truly tight passive player can find many spots where a bet or a raise is a better strategy, then a check or call. As a tight passive player moves up on the aggression, he or she will see their wins increasing as well.
Loose Passive (LP)
If TAGs are the sharks, then loose passive players are the fish. A loose passive player plays too many hands and he tends to just check and call. Poker rewards patience and aggression, and the LP player is neither! Playing against a loose passive player is a dream. Sure they’ll suck out for an inside straight draw and even a 1 or 2 outter every now and then, but they will bleed money almost every session. Loose passive players are ATMs for pretty much every other poker style.
How to play against a loose passive player? Very straightforward. Don’t worry about being tricky. Bet when you have the best hand, check when you’re not sure where you are at, as they will surely check right along with you. If a loose passive player does actually toss in a bet, give them credit for a strong hand! Finally, stay mentally strong. Loose passive players on a hot streak can hit some amazing hands and put bad beats on you quickly. If you get tilted, you may become a fishy yourself.
Loose Aggressive (LAG)
Maniac players can turn a boring session of poker into a wild roller coaster ride. They are in many cases super aggressive, betting and raising with little concern about what their cards are. They have one of the good attributes of successful poker players, and that is aggression. They’ll win a lot of blinds and antes, steal many pots with nothing, and when they do hit good hands they almost always get paid off in a big way, since nobody believes they ever have a hand.
Loose aggressive players do well against tight passive players in short handed games and even do decent against loose passive players at times. However, their desire to gamble is usually their undoing. While they’ll win some huge pots every now and then, they will usually lose a lot more than they ever win in the long term. Loose aggressive players have huge potential, if they will just learn to control their desire to gamble and tighten up their hand requirements.
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Steve Carr

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