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Poker Playing Styles: 4 Main Types

If you are somewhat new to a poker game you might have heard phrases such as ‘tight passive’, ‘tight aggressive’, ‘loose passive’, ‘loose aggressive’. Also, words that sound less formal like ‘nit poker’, LAG poker, the ‘bomb’, ‘maniac’ or ‘shark’ and wondered what they mean. Some of them might not sound cohesive, but actually, these all are used to describe someone’s poker playing styles. In this post we will cover the 4 main poker playing styles and shortly discuss why identifying them is important. There’s also an infographic included, which you can use as a cheat sheet or send it to a friend who needs to know things. Let’s get on with it!

Tight passive

This poker playing style can also be referred as ‘a rock’ or ‘a nit’. Tight passive poker personality will only play a few hands, rarely bet and will almost never raise. Most of the times they will just call pre-flop when they find a good hand. If you see such player taking action at the table, it’s almost certain he holds a strong hand. Since fear of losing is a prevailing state for such players, the aggressive type poker players can easily exploit the situation and bluff to make the tight passive poker personality fold.

Loose passive

A.k.a ‘calling station’ poker players have their fingers in many pots at once. They are also the ones that call raises and remain in the hand, even if it’s really borderline decent. They are almost never aggressive at the tables, and when they are, they tend to be called ‘calling stations’ for their actions in the game. It is really easy to spot them and the best thing to do then is to not bluff, as they will most definitely call your bluffs anyway. Instead try to make higher than usual pre-flop raises with strong hand, if the loose passive poker player is already in the hand or sitting in the blinds. This poker game style is common among newbies, so if you feel like this is you, it’s time to up your poker game!

Tight aggressive

This playing style, often named as TAG poker, and the personality behind it as ‘a shark’ tend to be one of the most successful poker game style of all. Tight aggressive players select the best starting hand and only then play. They frequently bet and raise, but almost never call. This style, however, has its risks as it’s more probable to lose the whole stack when holding a strong, but not the strongest hand in game. Despite this, a tight aggressive strategy has its perks, of course. This style simplifies the game, as the player waits for the right hand and only then dives in and it’s obvious that the vast majority of winning players employ exactly this style.  The best strategy when encountered ‘a shark’ is to learn from him and become one.

Loose aggressive

Usually a player who is difficult to read because of his/her wide range of hands can be categorized as loose aggressive or LAG. Such player tends to raise and re-raise a wide variety of hands pre-flop and will often bet on most flops. Pressuring the opponents is one of the prevailing features with these players.  Because of their aggressiveness a LAG can either win with the best hand or by making his opponent fold. At the very end of the spectrum of this poker playing style are players called ‘maniacs’. They are like LAG but on steroids. They tend to overplay and raise without any reason almost all the time. If you are patient, however, you’ll see their CHP becoming a part of your winnings in the end.

Why are the poker playing styles important to understand?

Identifying your opponent’s game style is crucial if you are eager to improve your poker skills and increase your profits. Knowing who exactly you are dealing with, will help you tweak your strategy and most likely, will lead you to having the upper hand in the game. Having said that, keep in mind, that the best poker players adjust their style to their opponents and the particular game. That’s what you should do, too! And don’t forget to check these poker playing styles against yourself, as they might be a good indicator if you are on the right path to poker success.

Now take what you’ve learned to the test! Previously we have covered the Best of Tony G in Triton Poker Series. Can you identify his poker playing style from the clips? What about the opponents? Share what you’ve observed in the comment section!

Take a look at our infographic for the quick summary:

We encourage you to go ahead and apply this information at the tables! All you need is a CoinPoker account and some free time!

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