Nothing remarkable here, just some thoughts on why tight/aggressive play works.
The advantages of tight play are:
• If you play tight you will usually start out with the best hand. In most poker games (notice I said most, there are exceptions to everything) you should strive to be the tightest player at the table. If you succeed in this you will typically be starting out with the best hand. Think of it as having a head start in a race: the bigger the head start the greater the chance that you will win no matter how good your competition is.
• Tight play breeds aggressive play. If you’re only playing the best hands than you will find yourself raising most of the time. One of the many problems with loose play is; you wind up playing marginal hands that you can’t raise with. Furthermore, if you make a hand, you’ll have a weak kicker or an under pair that will force you into call-down mode. When you play tight and improve on the flop your hand is always strong, and barring miracle flops you will have the best hand.
• Tight play helps you avoid the good players and isolate the bad ones. Good players pay attention. They recognize that you’re a tight player and will respect and avoid you with all but their best hands. On the other hand, bad players don’t pay attention. They will continue to give you action with weak hands no matter how tight you’ve been playing. Think about that for a moment, tight play gets rid of the good players leaving only the bad ones for you to contest with!
• Tight play helps you avoid domination. In poker the second best hand is the biggest loser, you’re not going to receive any silver medals at a poker table. Often times, the second best hand was dominated from the get go. If you’re playing A9 and are against AK you’re setting yourself up to lose a lot of chips when an Ace hits. Furthermore, when you do hit your Ace you won’t get any action since most players don’t play A2-A8. So you’ll either lose a big pot when you’re dominated or win a little one when noone else has an Ace.
• Tight play helps you avoid and recognize tilt. It’s easy to realize you’re off your game when you play tight. When you catch yourself playing J7s from first position you can be pretty sure you’re not playing you’re a game! On the other hand, if you normally play a lot of cheese to begin with, you’ll have a hard time recognizing when you’ve loosened up. Realistically, if you’re normal A game is at best a C-, it’s going to be difficult to know when you’re playing your D game. It would be like a health nut eating at Mc’Donalds for three days straight, they will realize it right away! On the other hand, someone who already eats there a couple days a week won’t notice, or think much of the increase.
The advantages of aggressive play are:
• Aggressive play gives you two ways to win the pot: By having the best hand, or by forcing your opponent to fold. If you’re a passive player checking and calling all the time, you have to have the best hand at showdown to win. On the other hand, if you are aggressively betting, you can often force your opponent to fold a better hand than yours, giving you an additional way to win the pot. It’s not always what you have, it’s what your opponent thinks you have.
• Aggressive play gets more money in the pot. In poker you want to maximize your wins and minimize your losses. In order to maximize your wins you need to get as much money into the pot as possible. Additionally, since you’ll often have the best hand you also want to charge your opponents as much as possible to try to run you down. You’re not always going to win when you start out with the best hand, so make sure you charge your opponents the maximum for the chance to out-draw you.
• Aggressive play often gains you position. When you raise or re-raise you will often cause players behind you to fold, giving you position on the remaining players in the hand. When you check and call it’s more likely the players still to act will stay involved in the hand. Not only is it cheaper but their odds increase with each additional player.
• Aggressive play helps you avoid good players and isolate bad players. As I have already said, the good players pay attention. They see that you are aggressive and will fear you for it, not only the current bet you are making but they also know you will continue betting on subsequent rounds. The bad players don’t pay attention, they’re not concerned with any future bets you might make, just the current one.
• Aggressive play helps you narrow the field. By raising you can eliminate opponents. The more players in the pot, the more likely someone will chase you down. By raising you’ll typically get the same money in the pot, but with less opponents to deal with.
• Aggressive play helps you define your opponent’s hand. People tend to call raises with far fewer hands than they limp in with. This allows you to narrow their holding down, especially if they’re tight players. The more information you have about their hand the easier your decision making process will be.
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Thread: More on tight/aggressive play
May 29th, 2007 #1
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More on tight/aggressive play
May 30th, 2007 #2
I like these threads, keep'em coming!
You know I've never thought about the recognising tilt part of it, but you're totally right.
May 30th, 2007 #3
May 31st, 2007 #4
May be you can change gears inbetween to get the best of both worlds
June 7th, 2007 #5
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I have a question on tight aggressive playing, because that's where I'm trying to get myself, but when only raising on premium hands, wouldn't you be telling your opponents that you actually always have a hand when raising, therefore causing less action for yourself?
And what about tight aggressive playing? Is calling a bet 5x the minimum, preflop, on the button with K 10 offsuit considered a good call? I see everyone talking about playing tight aggressive poker, but sometimes they even deviate themselves. Is that to keep other players a little confused? to make them view you as a loose aggressive player? and/or does it encompass position with a slightly better than mediocre hand as I described above?
June 7th, 2007 #6
Great post Steve. I only recently realized how tight play is rewarded in most forms of (online) poker, not just Hold'em.
July 15th, 2007 #7
September 19th, 2007 #8
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November 15th, 2007 #9
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I am able to play that tight/aggressive style but I have problems with consistency. Last night was a perfect example. I was in a 9 man home game at my bosses house and finally it was down to 4 people. I played, what would to call a tight and disciplined game. The only hands I played were something I knew wouldn't need much improvement on the flop and also raised aggressively.
I caught Aces twice, both times doubling up. I caught trip queens with the river, doubled up there and made a nice call with pocket 8' when the guy only had 7's.
I make the money in that game but in the very next game I find myself going all-in with a pair of Kings, 8 kicking against a pair of Aces.
Does anyone have any tips to maintaining a disciplined tight/aggressive game?
November 15th, 2007 #10
Don't go all in with K8 on an A high flop.
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