It’s important to learn about the style of your opponents in poker to make proper decisions.
Loose – Aggressive – player who enters a lot of pots with a wide range of hands. Frequently raising and reraising. They put pressure on their opponents by their style forcing them to fold often the best hand. The way to play against them is to tighten up your game, wait for your best hands. You will get paid well for them against those players. It’s ok to lose many small pots by folding and making it up by winning a big one. Those players generally go broke quickly, because usually there are not many good loose-aggressive players and what often happens is that new poker players try to play the tight-aggressive style advertised by so many poker books and pros as superior. Get it wrong and play too many hands leading them to play their hands aggressively at the wrong times.
Loose – Passive – that is the weakest category of all and known as “Fish”(“Fun player” or “Recreational player”). Those players check-call a lot, play lots of hands, hardly ever raise (have a high VPIP* and Low PFR**). Pretty much they try to see as many flops as possible as cheap as they can. They also don’t raise or fold in the situations when they should. They rely on lack, disregarding poker odds(perhaps don’t know about it), so they would call down trying to complete their draws even when the odds are against them. That’s why they are sometimes also called “Calling stations”. Against loose-passive players when they show aggression – you want to show respect(fear their aggression, because that’s the time when they do have a big hand) otherwise you can play lots of pots with them:
– if you have really strong hand – extract maximum value
– if they are so called “Fit or Fold” – playing straight forward after the flop – take pots from them by being very aggressive by value betting or bluffing (stealing 2/3 of the time)
– we don’t want to bluff “Calling stations”
Tight – Passive (have a high VPIP* and Low PFR**) – players who play a really good game preflop. They know which cards to play and which not. Where they fail is when it’s time to protect their hand instead raising they usually check-call. Another weakness is that they are very easy to read. Tight-passive players could be profitable players with many bad players online, but against good players they would suffer. Playing with them is important to determine two things. First one is, are you playing against a “Scared fish” or “Nit”? “Fish” would have a big gap between their VPIP and PFR. Second, is that a “Fit or Fold” or “Calling station”. We can steal lots of blinds from them, but if they start fighting back its an indicator that they do have a decent hand.
Tight – Aggressive – is the most profitable and most successful style. You can use strategies from players in other categories, but generally you should stick to playing too Tight-Aggressive. This type of player knows the starting hand strengths and only plays with the correct starting hands in the correct positions. This player however is aggressive when in the pot and will bet and raise when it is the right time to do so, putting pressure on opponents. This style is very effective against passive players, and can also be very effective against loose players. These types of players play with the odds in their favor by playing better starting hands and then protecting their hands and playing aggressively after the flop at the correct times. Over the long run this type of player will be a profitable poker player.
*VPIP – Voluntarily Puts money In Pot. (= # of times player puts money into the pot/# of hands)
**PFR – PreFlop Raise %.