Knowing Your Opponents' Playing Styles in Poker

If you are a beginning poker player, you might notice the playing styles of the best players. You might see on TV and in online poker rooms when a player makes out-of-this-world plays and all you can do is say, "How did he do that?"

It can't be denied that in poker, luck plays an important part of the game but what really matters in the end are your skills and strategies. Poker is still a game of skill where the player who makes the best decisions with his hands is most likely to come out as the winner.

An important skill in poker is understanding your opponents' playing styles and developing a strategy to counter their styles of play. This strategy is better than crashing blindly into a game without knowing any strategy.

As a general rule, most poker players are divided into four types: the loose passive, the loose aggressive, the tight passive, and the tight aggressive players. Your goal is to find out which category your opponents belong to and to devise a strategy that suits their playing styles.

A loose player is described as someone who plays too many hands and mixes his plays up. A tight player, on the other hand, is someone who plays very few hands. Loose players don't wait on a good starting hand while tight players wait on their good starting hands.

A passive player is one who, even with a top pair, checks or calls frequently. An aggressive player is someone who bets or raises frequently.

Beginners and novices usually belong to the loose passive category. These players use their starting hands without knowing if their hands are strong or not. These players usually get the bottom or middle pairs during the flop and turn, making it easy for their opponents to catch cards.

A loose aggressive player is usually a very good player who can be dangerous in almost all situations. Be wary of these kinds of players as they play many hands and bet aggressively. This player's hands are very difficult to read because you won't know if he has a good hand or had caught a flop.

A tight passive player can be easily spotted as he plays very few hands and checks or calls often. This player waits on a good starting hand and calls or bets after making the hand. A drawback with this type of player is that his opponents have the tendency to fold their cards to his hand, making the pot size smaller.

A tight aggressive player is someone who plays few hands and bets aggressively. This player also waits on a good starting hand and will often raise on a preflop. This player makes a strong raise or bet on what he thinks are good hands.

Learn all you can about your opponents' playing styles so that you can intelligently create a strategy to counter your opponents' actions and you'll know what to do next.

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