Tip 46
More Hold’em Concepts You Should Know

Thus far, we have presented concepts that deal with specific points during the play of a hand.  We now present tips that are useful all the time.

Poker is a game of many different playing styles.  This is one of the reasons why it is such a fascinating game.  If you can learn how each of your opponents plays, you should be able to play with greater degree of success against them.

  How can you classify your opponents?  In general, every player has tendencies that help define his play.  A player can be primarily loose or primarily tight.  Overlapping these styles, a player tends to play either aggressively or passively.

Loose

  Loose players enter pots with a wide assortment of hands.  They are the ones who cause you to ask yourself, “How could he play that hand?” There are different degrees of loose play to be aware of, as well.  Some players play virtually every hand all the way with any possibility (however remote) of winning.  Others play for one bet, but tend to tighten up if someone raises.  Also, some players don’t necessarily play many hands, but do defend their blinds to the death.

Tight

  Tight players play very few hands.  You won’t see a tight player turning over too many marginal hands like K-9 suited, or K-J offsuit.  Some players are so tight that the entire table takes notice when they finally do enter a pot.  Obviously, when a tight player is in a hand with you, you must assume that he holds quality cards, and that a better than normal hand may be required to win the pot.

Aggressive

  Aggressive players like to bet and raise, even if their cards don’t seem to merit it.  They are also more likely to bluff, so you must make more marginal calls against them.  As we have seen, a loose-aggressive player is sometimes referred to as a maniac, and he is easily identified by his tendency to play a lot of hands very aggressively.  Games with maniacs feature many large pots.

Passive

  Passive players tend to call rather than bet or raise.  Loose-passive players enter many pots, and call you down with weak holdings.  These players have no chance in a hold’em game.  Tight-passive players play only quality starting hands, but don’t get full value from them due to their failure to bet when appropriate.  You should be concerned when a passive player bets, as it usually signifies a very good hand.

The ideal playing style is tight-aggressive.  You want to play tight, as you can’t win if you enter too many pots.  Rather, you should adopt a very selective starting hand strategy.  But, when you do decide to play a hand, you should proceed aggressively.  This way, you win the maximum with your high quality starting hand.  Also, aggressive play has the added bonus of occasionally causing an opponent to fold a hand that is either the best at that point, or would have improved to win the pot.  Passive players don’t win at poker.