You'll learn to
win bigger pots and you'll avoid getting into losing situations by betting
smarter, playing the right hands at the right times, folding when you
should, trapping and bluffing appropriately, using aggressive player's own
style against them, and using table position to
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Texas Hold'em Poker
"UNDERSTANDING AND LEVERAGING
Learn Texas Holdem poker and how to quickly read a poker player's "style"
and you'll be amazed at how it massively boosts your profits. There are
basically four different poker playing styles, which can be determined
how many starting hands a player typically plays,
Let's start out by understanding the diagram
shown in Figure 1.1 below, which shows how to determine a player's style
First, a player who plays relatively few (typically only premium) starting hands is termed
"tight", whereas a player who plays many more starting hands is termed
The second factor to consider is their betting style; that
is, whether they tend to be more "passive" and just check/call a lot and
rarely bet or raise, or they're instead much more "aggressive", tending
to bet and raise quite often.
As we can see here, the combination of the number of hands played and
betting style is used to "type" a player. Watch players closely
and you'll typically see a pattern emerge in their overall play and be
able to type them fairly quickly.
Figure 1.1 - Poker Player Styles
Figure 1.1 shows a "target play zone", the overall area that good
players should strive to maintain their play. Most pros will play
Tight-Aggressive, with occasional forays into the other quadrants to mix
things up and keep everyone off balance, guessing about what they'll do
Let's discuss each of these styles in a
bit more detail, ensuring you can recognize the
styles of play (including your own style, or "table image").
This is the typical "amateur" play style,
since these players like the action and just want to play and have fun,
playing just about anything that's remotely playable. These
players are sometimes referred to as "fish", since they're easy to
defeat. They'll often just Check or Call with even marginal
hands like Ace-trash, low to medium pairs and they'll call just about
everything, hoping to pull something out of thin air. These players
are also sometimes termed "calling stations", since they'll call
Bet into these players whenever you have a decent hand. If you bet
too much, you'll probably scare them out, so bet just enough to keep
them in the hand, contributing to the pot size and "milking" them for
whatever chips you can get them to put in at each stage (flop. turn,
Be careful trying to bluff these players,
though, as their "calling station"
tendency could backfire - if you do bluff them, attack them very aggressively
with a significant Bet / Raise in order to effectively bluff them.
These "weak" players are typically
fairly easily beaten. They just hang
out waiting for great starting hands and big flops, and then they come
after everyone all of a sudden. When these players seem to
suddenly "wake up" and start betting significantly, get out of their way, unless you have a strong hand,
since they probably have a good-to-great hand (that's about all they'll
play, since they don't like risk-taking).
These players can "survive" a long time since they don't risk many chips
at all. These players are very easy to bluff out of a pot, since
they're highly risk-averse (avoids risk-taking unless they have a real, strong
hand). These players tend to play "honest" - betting
proportion to the strength of their actual hands, making them easier to read.
This style is typically referred to as the "maniac", since they'll
aggressively bet or raise with just about anything and they play far too
many starting hands, using their aggressive betting style to make up for
their lack of good hands.
Be very careful when you encounter these types, as they can quickly
injure you. Since they play so many hands, you never really know
when they have a trash hand, a real hand, a draw or a monster. Players like Gus Hansen
use this style very effectively, yet can be beaten several different ways, as
we'll discuss in a lot more detail in the "Beating Aggressive Players"
lesson. Basically, remain patient and figure out how to get under
these players' skin and trigger their aggressive response systems, doing
so when you're holding a great hand, and they'll often bet heavily into
you, exposing most or all of their chips to you!
So, now it's time to discuss our preferred style of no-limit Hold'em
play: Tight-Aggressive. These players choose their starting hands
carefully, and instead of "limping in" (check/call) to see a flop,
they'll either Bet or Raise significantly if they do play or just Fold
without seeing a flop at all.
On the Turn and River, they'll usually make aggressive Bets/Raises when
they hit their hand. These players are typically only risking
their chips when they have a strong hand. When they do bet, they
bet heavily and quickly build a significant size stack by winning just a
few key hands.
This style is easy to spot, so you'll quickly get typed by the
other players using this style. To address this, you must
occasionally shift quadrants (as shown in Figure 1.1) to throw players
off, and deliberately playing as if you're a "maniac".
By raising smartly with strong hands, and then mixing it up occasionally
with nicely-timed bluffs, semi-bluffs and blind-stealing, you'll be able
to keep your opponents off balance, never knowing what to expect from
Truly understanding these poker player
styles is essential to winning. Knowing your own style and "table
image" is important, as it'll help you predict your opponents' moves,
and ensure you profit and win bigger every time that you play.
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