How to Play Texas Hold'em Poker

Advanced Strategy: Player Categories

Because the way players play is important, it is helpful to place them into categories. Some players find that by attaching names with categories it helps them recall how each opponent plays. Here is a list of different playing styles followed by suggested names for each type of player. It is important to remember that any player may change from one playing session to the next and that some players can even change within a playing session. A poor player may improve over time, and a good player may be having a bad day. Therefore, it is a good idea to use the beginning of each session to re-evaluate any familiar opponents while you evaluate new ones.
  • Tight/Aggressive -- You should strive to become this type of player. Tight/aggressive players don't play many hands, but when they do play a hand, it is played very aggressively. They often enter the pot with a raise and will push the action by betting and raising until shown that they are beat. Every time a player bets or raises, it forces other players to make decisions, and whenever players must make a decision, they may make a mistake. Tight/aggressive players capitalize on this tactic by providing opportunities for their opponents to make these mistakes. The name assigned to these players is "Solid." Experienced players usually respect their bets and raises because they seldom enter a pot with a poor hand. Meanwhile, solid players are capable of folding a good hand if they are convinced they are beat. When a solid player is quiet and constantly observing everything at the table while using the advanced strategies discussed before, the name assigned to them is "Professional." A game with too many solid and/or professional players is not a good game to be in.

  • Loose/Aggressive -- Loose/aggressive players play too many hands, usually raise, and are very difficult to bluff. These players can be dangerous because it is often difficult to guess what their hole cards are (often called putting them on a hand). Thus you are seldom certain where you stand in a hand with them. For this reason it is important to keep your starting hand requirements tight so you are often in the hand with better cards than loose/aggressive players. Most loose/aggressive players try to play the correct way, which is tight/aggressive, but they simply play too many hands. At times loose/aggressive players have long winning streaks because like tight/aggressive players, they force their opponents to make decisions and mistakes. The problem is in the long run, loose/aggressive players will be losing players because of their starting hand selection. Many good poker players -- referred to as "solid" -- will at times slip into loose/aggressive play by lowering their starting hand requirements. Most of these players correct this in time, but it is something to keep an eye out for, especially if they are not having a good session. The name assigned to the loose/aggressive player is "Overly Zealous." The overly zealous play many hands and always raise if they are in a hand. A true overly zealous is impossible to put on a hand since he/she can and will play anything. Thus they are very dangerous in the short run. In the long run, a solid player will end up with all of the overly zealous's money as long as the solid player can survive the short-term financial swings.

  • Tight/Weak --Tight/weak players usually have a fairly good idea of proper starting hand selection and stick to it. They rarely raise unless they have the absolute best hand, and they prefer to check and call to see what is coming next. The biggest problem with this type of play is that tight/weak players rarely protect their hand (by betting or raising to narrow the field) and are often beat by a player who hits a draw or miracle card. Tight/weak players may show a small profit in games full of poor players because of their proper starting hand selection, but solid players will run over tight/weak players. The tight/weak players are called "Semi-Weak."

  • Loose/Weak -- Loose/weak players do all the wrong things while playing poker. They play too many hands. They check and call when they should raise. And they always call on the river with second, third, and often worse hands. These players are referred to as "Calling Stations." Poker players call them "Fish." Calling stations will always pay off your good hands, and you should often try to isolate them to take advantage of their weak play.
Before we conclude our look at Texas Hold'em, we will look at advanced strategy for no-limit Hold'em in the next section.

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