The Four Main Poker Playing Styles

By Calculatem.com received 8 years ago

Categories: Poker
Age: 19 until 30 year 31 until 64 years 65 and older
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Hey Do,
There are four main poker playing "styles":
1. Loose-Passive 2. Loose-Aggressive 3. Tight-Passive 4. Tight-Aggressive
The first part of each style refers to which HANDS are being played. "Loose" describes someone who plays a wide variety of hands. "Tight" describes someone who is more selective and only plays good hands.
The second part of each style refers to the BETTING. Someone who's "passive" often CALLS and doesn't raise the pot much. An "aggressive" player makes frequent bets and raises.
In general, the most effective poker style is TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE. I'll discuss the reasons WHY in a moment. But first, let's take a look at each style and learn the strategies for winning against them...
Loose-passive is the most "amateur" style of play. These fish like to play a wide-range of starting hands and rarely fold before the flop.
They'll check-call after the flop (and on the turn and on the river) with hands like middle pair, ace high, or even low pair. That's why they're often nicknamed "calling stations".
When you spot this type of player, you want to wait for a good hand and then bet into them consistently. But DON'T bet too much unless you want to scare them out.
Usually, the best technique is to "milk" them for chips before the flop, after the flop, after the turn, and after the river.
If you're going to bluff a loose-passive player, do so AGGRESSIVELY... otherwise they might call.
Also, be selective when you attack. The loose-passive player might have top pair and STILL just check-call it. So be careful.
This is the "maniac" or "manic" playing style.
A manic can empty your pockets quickly if you don't use the proper strategy against him.
You must be PATIENT and understand how to "get under the skin" of a manic player. Do NOT let him upset you.
For instance, a manic will often play bad starting hands... or even RAISE with them. When he hits, no one knows what to put him on, which is part of the reason why he's so dangerous.
Let's say a manic calls a pre-flop raise with 2-4 offsuit and the flop comes:
Jerry is holding A-K, and so he obviously thinks he has the best hand. The turn card is a King and the river is a 10.
Jerry ends up losing a ton of chips to the manic's straight.
And THEN WHAT HAPPENS is Jerry goes on tilt and starts calling the manic's raises and loses his composure. This is how the manic can break you.
In order to beat a manic you must wait for a strong hand. The manic's weakness is that he HATES being raised or "bullied". Also, I've found that most manics feel "pot-committed" much more easily.
When you get heads-up with a manic (and you have a strong hand), raise him or make small bets that entice him to bluff.
Let the manic come to you... let him make the wrong move at the wrong time and you'll be able to take his chips. Often all at once.
Tight-passive players are fairly easy to beat. If they bet or raise, get out of there. Otherwise, you can consistently represent the flop and bluff them out of pots.
Tight-passive players will often "survive" for a long time in a game because they never risk too many chips. But eventually they'll get "blinded to death".
Use bluffs, semi-bluffs, and aggressive bets to take a tight-passive player's chip stack.
OK, so now we're to the PREFERRED playing style for Texas Holdem... and that's tight-aggressive.
Tight-aggressive players choose their starting hands wisely. They rarely "limp-in". Instead, they usually either FOLD or RAISE before the flop.
After the flop, they'll make aggressive bets if they've got a hand or if they raised pre-flop.
The reason a tight-aggressive playing style is so effective is because you only risk chips when you've got a good hand. But when you DO risk chips, you risk a LOT of them... so it only takes a couple wins to build a nice-sized stack.
This is the playing style used and recommended by just about every professional card player.
It's often referred to as "aggressively smart" or "selective aggression".
Now, the DOWNSIDE of a tight-aggressive style is that it's often easy to read. This style can often build a tight table image... and when that happens, your opponents won't give you action for your big hands.
So how do you solve this problem?
The solution is to INTENTIONALLY establish a LOOSE table image... by carefully choosing times in the game to play like a "manic".
For example... once in awhile... show a bluff. Especially near the beginning of the game. You'll want to do this when you sense weakness and have good positioning-- just as you'd do with any good bluff.
Let's say you pick up 8-7 clubs on the button and three players limp-in. You raise 7x the big blind and everyone folds.
That's when you flip over your suited-connectors and say, "C'mon guys, I just KNOW someone had my eight high beat..."
A move like this is usually enough... depending on the table... to get you action for your big hands later.
That way when you pick up K-K on the button a bit later... and make the SAME pre-flop raise of 7x the big blind, you get a caller or two.
A huge advantage of playing tight-aggressive is that many of your opponents won't distinguish between LOOSE and AGGRESSIVE.
As we discussed, "loose" is related to which hands you'll play... and "aggressive" is related to betting.
If you raise aggressively with strong hands... and then mix it up with the occasional well-timed bluff... you'll be able to throw your opponents off and keep them guessing every step of the way.
Of course, as you know, there are many "degrees" in between these four main playing styles...
Even though you should use TIGHT-AGGRESSIVE as your main style, you must be able "shift gears" and mix up your approach throughout the game... that way you don't become predictable.
More importantly, you must learn WHEN to shift gears... HOW to vary your playing style... and special "tricks" you can use to FOOL your opponents without risking too many chips.
When you learn skills like these, you'll be able to CONSISTENTLY win at Texas Holdem poker-- at virtually any level-- and immediately raise your "poker profits".
If you're ready to take the NEXT STEP, click this link to download TEXAS CALCULATEM:
You'll get step-by-step coaching AS YOU PLAY online poker to help you maintain a tight-aggressive style.
Plus, TEXAS CALCULATEM is "free" (with a few conditions, of course). Go here for details:
I'll talk to you again soon.
Your Friend,
Roy Rounder
Mutatum Solutions Ltd., 12-16 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5PQ, UK
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