Comparative theory of poker grip – loose versus tight hand selection.
There are a lot of different player types out there. Pay enough attention, and you can throw multiple labels on everyone you come up against on the felt. Two of the most common types you can expect to come across are loose poker players and tight poker players. There’s isn’t much middle ground between the two.
A player’s poker grip determines their range of starting hands. Loose players can be put on a wider range of hands, while tight players will only invest in a pot if they have a premium starter.
Identifying a Loose Poker Player
A loose player is one who will forge ahead with just about any two cards in the hole. This type of player is easily identified by the fact that they see a lot of flops. As such, they tend to lose a lot of small chip stacks along the way. Then again, they also tend to pick up a lot of small pots against tight players, who aren’t nearly so willing to invest in all those hands.
Identifying a Tight Poker Player
A tight poker player is one who refuses to put any chips into the pot unless his or her starting hand is strong enough. These players rarely call, bet, or raise with anything less than pocket pairs or suited connectors. They are easily identifiable because they fold about 90% of the time. Aside from leaking blinds, their chip stack doesn’t fluctuate very often.
How’s your Poker Grip?
What type of poker player are you, and how do you think it effects your game? Are you a flagrant player, or a clenched-fist? Your grip on starting hand range is one of the most important factors, especially when it comes to how other players perceive you.
As a loose player, you can achieve two major advantages. If you’re up against a table full of tight-wads, you can expect to grab a lot of abandoned pots, adding small amounts to your stack on a regular basis. This also gives you the advantage of impressing weakness upon your opponents. Table impression is huge among an experienced crowd. If they think you’re always holding a weak hand, they may find themselves in a lot of trouble when you’re dealt a big one.
Playing loose, however, gives you little control over your chip stack. It’s going to fluctuate—a lot! Your swings will be much wider. It’s an unpredictable way to play, and a courageous one, but not necessarily a safe, or smart one.
Taking on a tight stance gives you greater control over your bankroll. You can expect to fold most of your hands—90% is considered the average. When you do get a strong starter, you can either become the aggressor, attacking the pot with big bets, or subtly join the game, hoping to gain value with small bets on successive streets.
Either way, the problem with playing tight is that everyone will suddenly notice when you decide to take part in a hand. Bet big, and they’re likely to fold, gaining you no value at all. Bet small, and you could get outdrawn on the river, but at least your expected value is high enough that it will pay off in the end more often than not.
Which brings us to our next topic…
Poker Personality (Passive vs. Aggressive)
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