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4 types of playing styles - which one do the pros use?

You may have come across the division of playing style into tight/loose and aggressive/passive. In the following article we will discuss what these terms mean and what are their advantages and disadvantages.

Tight vs loose

The Tight style of play is characterized by playing a small number of hands, especially pre-flop. If a player with this style gets involved in the game, he often has a strong hand. Loose game style, on the other hand, is characterized by playing a large number of hands. A player with this style tends to get involved in the game with an average or even weak hand.

Aggressive vs passive

The aggressive style of play is characterized by the player betting and raising frequently and chasing and calling little. A passive style of play is characterized by a player who bets and raises infrequently, not wanting to raise the pot unless he is extremely strong. He often wants to get into the showdown cheaply and therefore checks or calls.

The above described playing styles can be written in the following chart, which we have divided into 4 quadrants.

Bet and beat

Let's describe each quadrant in more detail.

Loose passive - A large number of beginners play this style. However, it is the style that is the easiest for opponents to beat and gives the player the least chance of winning. Players playing this style try to get into the showdown first and foremost to see if their hand is the best. They play a large number of hands before the flop, even against a raiser. They also often call their opponents' bets after the flop, even with weak hands. This is where the name "calling station" comes from. They rarely bet themselves and usually with a very strong hand. They don't often bluff.

This style allows the opponents to control the size of the pot. This is because passive play does not put pressure on the opponents, who can get into a showdown cheaply with mediocre hands. On the contrary, if the opponents have a strong hand, they know how to make the most of it, because the loose-passive player usually calls. Conversely, if a loose-passive player has a strong hand, he often doesn't get paid because if he decides to bet, it's easy for the opponent to read. These are all reasons why such players usually lose. Paradoxically, this style can work against maniacs who also play a lot of weak hands and then bluff mindlessly, but against other players it doesn't give much chance to win. If you are familiar with this style maybe this article will motivate you to change your game.

Tight passive - This type of player can usually have better results than loose passive players. This is mainly due to better hand selection. They follow the motto that money saved is just as valuable as money won. For the most part, such players are only willing to play the big game with a very strong hand. With this tactic they do very well against loose-passive players. Tight passive player wont bluff too little and at the same time he himself is easier to bluff out. Experienced players can exploit these cracks in his game by throwing against him more often, if they themselves bluff in certain situations. If you are one of these players, it is a good thing that you have the patience and discipline that is essential for success in poker. We recommend that you play aggressively more often, add more bluffs to your game, and at the same time expand the number of value bets.

Loose aggressive - Players playing this style are called maniacs. They play a lot of hands, but are very aggressive, betting or raising frequently. Despite the fact that they rarely have as strong a hand as their bets represent, it is not that easy to play against them. This is because it requires matching them more often with hands that only beat the bluff, which can be very uncomfortable for many players. From time to time, then, the maniac will show the nuts and the opponent will be left with nothing but eyes to cry. In the long run, however, the maniac will bluff away all the chips this way.

It should be said here that in certain types of games even professional players can play in a loose aggressive manner. However, they differ from classic maniacs in that they have thought out what they are doing much better and can judge when the opponent is likely to fold and when he is not, in which case they bet only with a strong hand. This can work well for them in games where opponents don't know how to play properly against aggressive opponents. If you are one of the loose-aggressive players we recommend you to keep your aggressiveness but be more picky when choosing starting hands.

Tight aggressive - This is the style with which professional players play. Because there is little money in the pot before the flop, they are selective about what hand they join the game with. Because of this, they will often have strong hands even after the flop. With these, they are willing to bet aggressively. They will then add the right amount of bluffs on top of that, making it extremely difficult to play against them. Therefore, more often than not, they win chips from opponents than vice versa.

From the above, we can conclude that the most successful poker style is one where you select what cards to play and then play them very aggressively. In other words, in poker, the recipe for winning is selective aggressiveness. And just as important as aggressive play is the right hand selection. If you are already one of the players who play this style, congratulations - you are well on your way. We hope that for others, this article will be a guide to take your game to the next level.