Different poker players use different poker playing styles such as loose-aggressive (LAG), tight-aggressive (TAG), loose-passive, and tight-passive. While playing online poker, it is important to observe your opponents, determine their playing styles, and adapt your game accordingly, Keep reading to get an insight into aggressive vs passive poker playing strategy and understand which strategy suits your game best.
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Tight vs Loose Poker Playing Style
The playing style of every poker player (whether aggressive or passive) can be broken down into tight and loose. The tight or loose playing style depends on the player’s starting hand selection. For instance,
- A tight poker playing style implies the player is playing a small number of only the best hands. Therefore, players playing tight often fold and don’t continue with weaker hands.
- A loose poker playing style implies that the player is frequently playing a wide variety of hands. Therefore, players who play loose don’t often fold and continue even with weaker hands.
Playing tight or loose doesn’t imply how players are playing their hands but focuses more on the selection of hands that are played. The players might play a tight or loose range of hands but what will determine your poker strategy against them is whether they are playing passive or aggressive.
Aggressive vs Passive Poker Strategy
Deciding between a passive vs aggressive poker strategy depends on the risk tolerance of a poker player.
- A passive/defensive poker player plays with a fear of losing and avoids confrontation. A passive poker strategy implies checking and calling.
- An aggressive/offensive player isn’t afraid of the risk and raises more than calling. An aggressive poker strategy implies betting and raising.
If you observe your opponents, you will soon start noticing the degree of their playing style. If an opponent tends to fold most of the hands, they may be playing tight. On the other hand, if an opponent is playing many hands, you can mark them loose. Similarly, if an opponent calls and checks often, you can mark him/her as passive, and if the opponent bets and raises more, mark him/her as aggressive.
Based on the above, the poker playing styles that a player may adopt are tight passive, loose passive, tight aggressive, and loose aggressive. Understanding all the playing styles and characteristics will help identify what style a player is playing for a particular hand.
What is Tight-Passive?
A player that doesn’t play a lot of pots and often calls pre-flop with a strong hand is a tight-passive player. When such players play tight, the other players often fold. These players are labeled as nit or rock and this style of play is generally considered as weak passive. The players with a tight-passive style of play fold frequently to aggression and are easy to bluff as they play with a fear of losing.
What is Loose-Passive?
The loose-passive players tend to limp into lots of pots and call raises just to see a flop. These players rarely show aggression in their style of play as their approach lets others take the risk while they watch. Many beginners tend to use this approach as they call often. However, you should avoid bluffing the loose-passive players.
What is Tight-Aggressive?
The tight-aggressive players generally play only the best starting hands and don’t play a lot of pots. These players are patient, don’t fear betting, and wait for the best opportunity to use their cards strongly to strike. The TAG players are referred to as the sharks in poker as their playing style is frequently effective irrespective of the betting structure or variant.
What is Loose-Aggressive?
The loose-aggressive players often bet on most flops and raise or re-raise a lot of hands pre-flop. Since these players play a wide range of hands, it’s difficult to read them. The highly experienced players who adopt the LAG playing style in No-Limit Hold’em, constantly pressurize their opponent, bluff a lot, and use their chips as weapons. However, players that are at the extreme end of the LAG scale raise without reason and overplay their hands. Exploiting such players can be profitable in the long run.
Which is the Best Poker Strategy?
Undoubtedly, the most difficult type of player to combat in a poker game is the player with a loose-aggressive poker strategy (LAG). However, unless a player uses a passive poker strategy to deceive opponents, an aggressive poker strategy is considered stronger. This is due to the value of bets and raises, leading to more mistakes made by the opponents.
Being aggressive in online poker is usually the best strategy. While for some players using a tight-aggressive strategy is profitable, others achieve success by adopting a loose-aggressive strategy. However, a majority of players find using a tight-aggressive style to be more profitable. The TAG approach is the best for poker beginners as it teaches discipline and patience while helping players to build strong skills.
A good loose-aggressive strategy is usually adopted by more experienced players and it stands as a major threat to weaker players. Players using a LAG style of play raise frequently and three-bet preflop and attack players who show any sign of weakness.
In the end, the best poker strategy is the one that is the most profitable for you. The playing style should suit your personality and you should be confident while using it. For instance, you may identify players who are loose-aggressive or loose-passive and they raise many hands pre-flop but give up on the flop or turn. These players may actually be tight-aggressive or tight-passive and are experimenting with a loose style of play. Therefore, it’s best to adopt a poker strategy that you are comfortable with and have experience using. As you gain more experience, you will identify the strategy that works best for you.
The Bottom Line
As a beginner, you may use either a tight-aggressive strategy, a loose-aggressive strategy, or a hybrid style. However, as you gain experience playing with different poker players, it is vital to adapt and tailor your strategy to counter each opponent and exploit the opponents you face. No one poker strategy or style is the best style for a poker player. In the end, the player that survives in the game is the one that is the most adaptable. When you play a poker game on MPL, try to understand your opponents, find their poker strategy, and counter their strategy to win the game.