Unlike what some may think, poker is a complex, multifaceted game that requires more skill than luck. Luck only affects the hands you get, and you are never forced to play your bad hands. Plus, a bad hand is not even an automatic loss. Your skill and strategy are what win you games, and the best poker players consistently make a living from poker. In poker, skill usually comes from either good math or player reading. Good math determines if you will profit over the long run with your strategy and make difficult decisions in-game, like if you should call a bet.
Player reading is also crucial to winning. Unlike many other casino games, you play poker against real people, not the house. That means everyone will have their unique strategies and playstyles. Understanding the other players will allow you to find weaknesses and take advantage of them. This poker guide will teach you how to play against one of the most common poker players: The tight player. It will cover everything from identifying them to exploiting the weaknesses of their tight playstyle.
Tight or loose, passive or aggressive
If you’re new to poker, you may not know what a tight player is. “Tight” and “loose” are a spectrum that defines how someone plays. They are combined with either “passive” or “aggressive” to create the four main poker playstyles. Tight and loose describe how many hands you play. Tight players know they are not forced to play bad hands and fold all except the best. Loose players like to play more hands; even ones considered mediocre. Passive and aggressive describe how you play your hands. Passive players prefer to check and call, while aggressive players bet and raise more often.
The four types of poker players
How to identify a tight player
To beat tight players, you need to learn how to spot one. In the case of online poker, you can use poker heads-up displays and tracking software. They display information and statistics about your opponents that you can use to pinpoint their playstyles. The primary one you should focus on is the VPIP. It means Voluntarily Put Money In the Pot through actions like calling or raising. A high VPIP (above 25% in 6-max Holdem) means they are loose and play many hands, while a low VPIP (below 20% in 6-max Holdem) means they are tight.
Now that you know how tight or loose they are, you must also identify if they are passive or aggressive. You can do this through the use of multiple statistics. You could use AG (Aggression Factor), which is just (bets + raises)/calls. A low AG (below 1) means they are unusually passive, while a high AG (above 3) means they are aggressive. Other stats you could use are PFR (pre-flop raise) and 3B (3-bet). These are standard aggressive plays, so having a low percentage for either could indicate a more passive player.
How to beat tight players
Incredibly tight players are often considered the most straightforward poker players to exploit. That is because their playstyles are far too predictable. Always folding until you hit a premium hand has two significant flaws. The first is that everyone can tell when your hand is strong without any bluffs in your range. You rarely get involved in pots, so you want to win a large pot when you finally get a firm hand. However, if the other players pay attention to your betting habits, they will fold the second they see you act aggressively, meaning winning even a normal-sized pot is hard. The second weakness of a tight playstyle is because of folding habits. With any non-premium hand, you would fold to aggression like 3-bets very often. That means you will usually get bluffed by experienced players, as even if your hand is stronger than theirs, you will likely get intimidated by the aggression and fold.
Now that you know these significant weaknesses, here are a few tips to win against tight players every time:
Where to play online poker
We hope this article taught you how to play poker against tight players. The best way to find and practice against tight players is on sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. You can play poker from anywhere, and GGPoker, in particular, offers a free built-in poker tracker and a heads-up display (HUD) for all users. Sign up at GGPoker today!