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BedsideFungus89

Playing Styles

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There are two distinguishing features in play style:

•    Starting hands (hole cards) - Does the opponent play a lot of hands (loose) or only a few hands (tight)?
•    Betting pattern (raise/call)   -  Does the opponent bet frequently in relation to his/her calls (aggressive) or only rarely (passive)?

Starting hands (hole cards)

•    A tight player has strong requirements for the quality of his/her starting hands and loose players play many of their dealt hole cards.  A poker player who calls the top 40% of starting hands (pocket 3s or higher, A2 or higher, K2 and higher suited, K5 off and higher, Q5 suited and higher, Q8 off and higher, J7 suited and higher, J9 off and higher, T8 suited) is considered a loose player while a poker player who only plays 15% of top starting hands (pocket 5s or higher, A7 suited and higher, A9 off and higher, K9 suited and higher, KJ off and higher, and QJ suited) is tight.

Betting pattern (raise/call)

•    The betting pattern is the relationship between betting and raising to calling.  If you add the number of bets and raises of an opponent and compare them to the number of his/her calls (formula: number of bets + raises/number of calls) and find the opponent bets or raises twice as often as he/she calls, he/she is playing aggressively.  If an opponent bets or raises less than half as often than he/she calls, he/she is playing passively.

 

Four Playing Styles


•    Tight passive (The Rock) - Only plays a few hands and rarely bets and rarely raises.  If you get a call from such a player, you can feel certain that he/she is holding a very strong hand.
          
           Benefits 
•    Limitation to "good" starting hands normally reduces overall loss.
•    Can benefit from action created by aggressive players without having to initiate betting/raising himself/herself.


           Drawbacks 
•    Due to the passive nature of The Rock's play, he/she doesn't often get maximum profit from hands and also gives opponents the opportunity to draw out on dangerous boards.

•    The Rock is a difficult player to engage because he/she will be limiting calls to "good" cards and won't enter a lot of pots.  However, this and his/her passive play style can definitely be used against him/her.  If The Rock is sitting in the blinds, you can often steal his/her blinds with a 3 BB raise from late position (button).  If The Rock bets or raises pre-flop, play only the very best hands and fold marginal hands.  You can be sure The Rock has a strong hand.  If you have a draw hand post-flop against The Rock, check instead of raising as you're likely to see additional cards at no cost and see if your draw pans out.


•    Loose passive (The Calling Station) - Plays a lot of starting hands but rarely bets or raises.  This is often referred to as the amateur style because beginners love to see the flop.  "Any two cards can win!"  If he/she hits a flop, he/she generally doesn't bet for fear of chasing opponents out of the pot and if he/she misses the flop, he/she often calls bets anyway because he/she "might" hit or his/her opponent "might" be bluffing.  Generally speaking, this is a losing playing style and players who adopt this style will need amazing luck to turn a profit.

          Benefits 
•    There pretty much are none.  However in a deep stack situation (more than 100 or 200 big blinds), this strategy can profit from high implied odds since opponents will hardly every fold his/her top pair against a calling station who flopped a straight with a T8 offsuit.

          Drawbacks 
•    As with The Rock, The Calling Station rarely gets maximum profit from his/her strong hands because they don't protect their hand against draws.  
•    Calling Stations risk their chip stack by playing too many weak hands in which he/she continually calls with the second best hand because it "might" hit or might be strong enough.

•    The Calling Station is a difficult player to deal with because he/she doesn't adhere to accepted poker guidelines when deciding to enter a pot.  Whether you raise with a strong hand or bluff with a weak one, The Calling Station is almost certain to call.  If you want to bet The Calling Station off a pot, make higher-than-usual pre-flop raises as this is the only thing that may discourage him/her.  However, if The Calling Station bets, you should fold hands of medium strength.  Winning several small hands against The Calling Station may be a more effective strategy if you determine that The Calling Station has no raise threshhold (not even an all-in bet will get this player to fold his/her marginal cards).  

•    Tight Aggressive (The TAG) - Plays few hands but bets or raises frequently and rarely makes calls.  (Most players in SnGs and multi-table-tournaments adopt this play style.)
         
          Benefits 
•    Restriction to "good" starting hands limits losses and simplifies the game (important for multi-tabling)
•    Since the TAG generally limits starting hands to "good" cards, he/she can win with those cards or with his/her aggression.

          Drawbacks 
•    Due to his/her tight playing style and limited starting hand range, the TAG can become somewhat predictable for other players to read and may get limited action when he/she hits the flop and more action than he/she wants when his/her hand misses.  
•    The TAG can take big losses if he/she hits top pair with their strong kicker and is outdone by a straight or flush with low cards played by a loose player.

•    The TAG is generally considered to be the most consistently successful of the four playing styles but he/she can definitely be beaten!  If you're sitting in late position, trying stealing his/her blinds as often as you can get away with it.  If a TAG bets/raises pre-flop, call only the strongest starting hands.  Play these hands aggressively and reraise with AA, KK, QQ (and sometimes JJ and AK, depending on the situation).  If you play out of position against a TAG and have a strong hand, check to him/her on the flop.  TAGS will usually place a continuation bet even when he/she misses the flop and you'll get maximum profit on your hand by not alerting the TAG too soon to the true strength of your hand.  A tight-aggressive play strategy in poker is the most profitable long-term.


•    Loose Aggressive (The LAG) - Plays many hands AND frequently bets and raises, but only rarely calls.  This is a high-risk strategy that some pro players use to great advantage, but is not recommended for inexperienced players.
 
          Benefits
•    Because of the wide range of starting hands The LAG is willing to bet, it's difficult for opponents to get a solid read on The LAG's cards.  
•    Opponents will often call a bet/raise with a marginal hand on the assumption that The LAG is bluffing.
•    The LAG's aggressive play style often results in pots won simply due to aggression.

          Drawbacks 
•    The LAG may lose money by consistently raising weak hands that they'll have to fold post-flop.
•    The LAG must be able to determine when he/she is losing money on a hand and fold (which will be often since he/she bets with weak hands - in comparison to tighter players) or he/she will lose more money than he/she gains using this strategy.

•    If you're a strong player, you can play more hands than usual against a LAG as you'll usually be the pre-flop favorite against his/her wide range of starting hands.  When a LAG bets pre-flop, try a raise/re-raise with your strong hands to isolate him/her.  If the LAG has position on you, check and wait to see if he raises his/her bets.

 Now that you know who you're playing against, you're well equipped to make choices that will result in your success against any player at the table.  Knowing your "enemy" can go a long way toward your success!  Good luck!
 

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Tight-Agressive is I think the best wau to play poker. I play a lot of cash-games, tournaments in real life and one a couple of them too. I play the same style in Prominence and it got me in the top leaderboard (I'm around 150 place the moment I'm posting this). As you said it comes ''predictable and that's somewhat a good thing cause sometimes when you raise big you can pull some good bluff and win the pot. And when I replied to you in your other post that's what I was kinda trying to say in different terms.

Edited by DrakeLeeFisher
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(here's a better version of my previoust post) First of all great post!!! Really well explained and detailed this will surely help a lot of players and maybe calm down some idiot players out there (sorry for language here). Now I want to talk more about the Tight-Agressive style since it's the one I'm using (both cash game and tournaments (heads up is a bit different, you got to gamble a bit more) I think it's the best way to play poker. I play a lot of cash-games, tournaments in real life and won a couple of them too. I play the same style in Prominence and it got me in the top leaderboard (I'm around 150 place the moment I'm posting this). Now as you said it might comes ''predictable and that's somewhat a good thing cause sometimes when you raise big you can pull some good bluff and win the pot. Also the objective of this strategy is not win a huge pot in one hand but frequently win small and medium pots over the time, getting a stack slowly. It's meant to put preasure on the other players. You're looking to make the player fold. Here's another way to explain it. If you got Something like A-K preflop in a 6 players hand in a 10k game. 3 guys fold, you raise 2k and get 2 calls. the flop is A-J-7 now you're in postion over the other guys. 1st guy check, second guy small bet (like 500). Now it's your turn you have most likely the best hand here but it's most likely that second player as a hand like J-10 suited. You could just call hopping to get more from him but you're giving him a chance to catch OR  you can raise big again saying: ok I got 2 calls preaflop- so I've got paid on that hand  (making it a 4k profits)   let's hope he fold. If he does I win the hand, I'm up in chips and he's down allowing me to put more preasure since I'm big stack. this is the way you want things to go usually with this style of play. Of course if you flop a monster hand (top 2 pair and more) now you can play it more cool, just go and call and get a bigger pot.

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Thanks.  I primarily play TAG myself, but I am comfortable moving to tight passive if that's a more favorable representation with the types of players at my table.  I don't think I'll ever be comfortable playing loose aggressive though.  I'm too risk averse for that.  

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Tight aggressive style is solid and works at any game for the most part.

But I think while harder to master Loose Aggressive style can yield bigger wins the deeper the stacks get.  I think that is pretty much the prerequisite for loose aggressive, the stacks have to be deep.

The key is position and being able to play well postflop.   One is looking to take something of postflop value, such as any pairs, suited connectors, connected hands and suited junk (within reason) to the flop.  Also one has to have the ability to limit their losses when one has to fold (have to be able to fold when necessary), also be able to handle 3 bets, as  you will eventually get 3 bet quite a bit.

The loose part is just the preflop starting hands one opens for a raise, the aggressive part is  still rooted in fundamentals postflop, just as it is for the TAG player.  I like LAG play, not to be confused with maniac as they are not the same.  It forces one to get better at postflop play because you'll be in more marginal spots.  But to each their own, whatever way helps one win.

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On 10/10/2016 at 5:02 PM, Squid said:

Tight aggressive style is solid and works at any game for the most part.

But I think while harder to master Loose Aggressive style can yield bigger wins the deeper the stacks get.  I think that is pretty much the prerequisite for loose aggressive, the stacks have to be deep.

The key is position and being able to play well postflop.   One is looking to take something of postflop value, such as any pairs, suited connectors, connected hands and suited junk (within reason) to the flop.  Also one has to have the ability to limit their losses when one has to fold (have to be able to fold when necessary), also be able to handle 3 bets, as  you will eventually get 3 bet quite a bit.

The loose part is just the preflop starting hands one opens for a raise, the aggressive part is  still rooted in fundamentals postflop, just as it is for the TAG player.  I like LAG play, not to be confused with maniac as they are not the same.  It forces one to get better at postflop play because you'll be in more marginal spots.  But to each their own, whatever way helps one win.

I think it takes great skill and discipline to play a loose aggressive style effectively and I honestly envy players who can pull it off.  I wish I was capable of doing so, but there's something inside of me that is just too rigid to play loose convincingly.  

I've only met a handful of players who LAG really well.  Most players I meet think they are LAGs but they are just maniacs.  There is no control or discipline, just unfocused aggression and mistimed bullying.

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10 hours ago, BedsideFungus89 said:

I think it takes great skill and discipline to play a loose aggressive style effectively and I honestly envy players who can pull it off.  I wish I was capable of doing so, but there's something inside of me that is just too rigid to play loose convincingly.  

I've only met a handful of players who LAG really well.  Most players I meet think they are LAGs but they are just maniacs.  There is no control or discipline, just unfocused aggression and mistimed bullying.

Thanks,

The goals of lag is the same as TAG, having control of the pot from preflop all the way to the river.  So smaller preflop raises are key, because if one gets 3 bet really huge its easy to let go of and one loses only a small amount.  I think a range of min raise-5x is fine.  One of the keys is raising the big pairs the same way one would 98 suited.  That way when one gets 3 bet they have something to pop back with, it protects the weaker part of the range when raising.

Also knowing when to c-bet and when not to.  On this game if its more than 3 players then not worth c-betting most of the time, especially on a wet board like say Jh,Qh,8d, as most people here caught a pair, flush draw or gutshot.  Unless of course one has a heart draw or open ended draw, then perfect time to raise. One also has to really be good at putting people on ranges, also figuring out what range their opponent is putting them on.  The goal isn't perfection as mistakes are part of the game, just a high % of being right, always the goal, some nights are better than others.

Yeah the maniacs I can spot easy as they are opening for 10x or more every hand.  They also usually pot raise on the flop as a c-bet.  The only problem is they lose fold equity if the flop raise gets called, as everyone has pot committed. Where as a LAG controls the pot, so that opponent has enough left behind in their stack to consider a fold.

I mean the fundamentals are the same postflop, the key is being flexible and having a custom plan for each opponent, as one is playing people.  The goal is to win off someone with whatever plan is necessary at that time, with the plan changing if opponents adjust.  If one thing holdem has taught me is that flexibility trumps poker dogma. We must constantly learn and evolve.

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I tend to mostly play tournaments. I'll start tight/passive (very passive with the odd spasm here and there in line with position, and I'll even try to remember to break the rules now and again). As the players reduce I start to up the AG and with less cards against me I guess I loosen up quite a bit. 

Someone said 'be like water.' Well maybe, but only on when I'm late on the table, right. 

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Loose/Aggressive sprinkled in with a bit of Tight/Aggressive is how I enjoy playing. TAG allows me to maximize my winnings with great hands and the LAG allows me to see the flop to avoid missing out on an excellent hand. I've had missed opportunities of folding a pair of threes to see that the flop had two threes. Ha! This strategy helps to keep me sane.

Every player has what works best for them, by changing between two styles I get to better my odds in my opinion while also changing up my "tells" to others.

 

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I just play the cards & game, if I think I have a hand pre flop I will throw some money in, if not I might just check, otherwise it's simple, there is the option to fold.

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On 11/30/2016 at 0:45 PM, Oxbentt said:

I just play the cards & game, if I think I have a hand pre flop I will throw some money in, if not I might just check, otherwise it's simple, there is the option to fold.

 

I use to play this way. I do miss those days, but after being bullied by a bunch of people at the poker table I had to change my strategy otherwise, I was always going to walk away with the empty hand. When I'm playing with my buddies for fun that's when I "Just play the cards & game" and I actually have more fun!

 

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