There are certain recognizable styles of game play in poker, and it is an important part of poker to not only recognize these styles of play but also to know how to best play against them to maximize your winnings. But first, let’s look at the four basic poker strategies: loose, tight, aggressive, and passive.
Loose play, at its most basic, means that you are not basing your decision whether or not to stay in a hand on the cards you hold in your hand. You will play in a hand with AA just as easily as you would with 28 off suit.
Tight play, at its most basic, means that you base your decision whether or not to stay in a hand on the cards you hold in your hand. You will play the premium starting hands (AA, KK, QQ, AK, AQ) but will usually fold lesser starting hands.
Aggressive play, at its most basic, means that you are in control of the way the hand is played situs idn poker terbaik. You initiate betting and raising, and rarely (if ever) back down. Aggressive poker play, when done correctly, will garner you more chips, and can be the most profitable style of play. Aggressive poker play can be the most profitable style of play.
Passive play, at its most basic, means that you are not in control of the way the hand is played. You check at every opportunity, and you may call but you never raise, even with premium hands.
Okay, now that we’ve covered the four basic poker strategies, let’s look at how they combine to form the four basic poker playing styles you will see when playing poker. These styles of play are:
Loose-Aggressive, or “The Maniac”
The Maniac is both a predictable and unpredictable player. He is rather easy to spot; this player is in almost every hand dealt, and doesn’t seem to know the meaning of “fold.” He will often raise and then re-raise with mediocre hands, or draws. This can at times be one of the most risky styles of play, especially at the beginning of a tournament. Played correctly and against the right mix of players, this style can rake in the chips. But when it is played incorrectly or against the wrong mix of players, it can be quite costly. This is not a playing style recommended for beginning or inexperienced poker players. You will rarely see a good poker player use this style of play at the beginning of a tournament or just after sitting down at a table. However, a good poker player can and will use this style of play towards the end of a tournament, or after observing the players at their table for some time.
Tight-Aggressive, or “The Killer”
The Killer sits in majestic splendor at one end of the table, respected and feared by many. This is the predator, the shark that sends smaller fish scurrying when he is spotted in the water. This player plays mainly premium hands and will aggressively raise and re-raise when they do. When this player is not in a hand, he or she is watching the other players at the table closely, analyzing their playing style. The type of player is statistically the most difficult to beat. You may get lucky and score a bad beat on her (and thank your lucky stars if you do!) but she will make you pay for it the next hand you are in together. And just like sharks, when they smell blood in the water – or in this case, fear – they are quick to move in for the kill.
Loose-Passive, or “The Fish”
The Fish is among the weakest poker players you can play against. The complete opposite of The Killer, they check or call on almost every hand, but they either don’t know how to follow up with aggression to protect their hand, or they get scared too easily. Just like the fish in an aquarium will scatter when you tap the glass, the least hint of aggression from another player will most likely cause this player to fold. This player is also fairly easy to spot; aside from their blatant playing style, you may also hear them bemoaning that they “have just the worst luck imaginable at cards” or they “never get a break.” If you find yourself seated at a table with all fish as your opponents, you can cautiously assume that you will leave with all of their chips.
Tight-Passive, or “The Rock”
The Rock can be a very weak player, appearing stronger at first but revealing themselves as weak. They know the logistical side of poker – the ranking of the hands, the ranking of the starting hands, and how to calculate odds. They may think of themselves as a good poker player but they lack the skills to play the other players. Even with premium hands the most they are likely to do is call, and sometimes they will even check. Like their counterpart The Fish, a hint of aggression from another player can cause this player to fold. They are relatively easy to spot; aside from their playing style, which is not as blatant as The Fish but still recognizable as a pattern, you may also hear them, just like The Fish, bemoaning their “luck.”
As you can see all four playing styles are different, but they all share some element with each other. By learning to recognize the different types of playing styles, you can adjust your own playing style accordingly to maximize your winnings. For information on the best way to play against each style, watch for my upcoming articles in this series, “Playing the Player.”