Fast Track To Success - Lesson 3
Micro Stakes Poker (3)
- It helps to think of players in certain categories when you're learning the game
- Most micro stakes players will have pretty well defined styles
- We want to avoid being a certain type of player ourselves
There's Only Two Situations, Showdown Or No Showdown
We spoke about playing against loose aggressive players by playing better cards than they tend to do and then let them blow off their chips to us. These players don't mind going to showdown and also leading the action on the way there, so we'll let them do exactly that. In fact we can even say that looseness or tightness is a matter of what quality of hands players will tend to want to show down, and anything prior to showdown doesn't matter in terms of someone being loose or tight.
For instance, a player may play all sorts of hands pre-flop but then end up folding way too much post flop. So we could correctly call this player loose pre-flop and tight post flop. Or he may be both loose pre-flop and loose aggressive on the flop, firing out bets like crazy, and then give up on the turn when it doesn't work, where he or she would check to you and then fold when you bet. So if you spot someone doing this too much, well you of course will know what to do to them.
It's Not That They Are Loose Or Tight, It's When
The point here is that it's certainly too general to speak of someone being loose or tight generally, and what we want to do instead is focus on specific situations where they are loose or tight in order to be accurate. So I want you to keep this in mind, although given that I did say that we can use overall traits such as loose aggressive or tight aggressive for instance as a broad foundation, we do need to define what we mean by this.
So once again, when I say loose here I don't just mean loose all the time, I mean loose in terms of showdown quality, with the opposite being true with tight players. So for example, if a player was loose earlier in the hand but folded too much later, we would consider this player to be tight overall. The reason is that our strategies will be dictated by how we can best beat a certain player, and in this case it will ultimately be in getting him or her to fold too much, although in this case it will be to get them to fold later.
On the other hand, if a player is willing to show down weaker hands, then our main task will be to go to showdown with him or her and take their money that way. For instance, the loose aggressive player that we spoke about in the last session would be this sort of player, who usually doesn't need much help in being willing to put money in the pot along our preferred journey to showdown, where we are more often than not looking to win the pot there.
The More We Refine Their Weaknesses, The Better We Can Exploit Them
So in other words, if we're going to take a general view of our strategies against these kind of players, we'll be looking to pick one or the other as a usual means of winning money from them. So if they are tight to showdown that means that they will tend to fold a lot, by definition, at least at some point in the hand, and thus we'll be taking down more pots against them as a means of exploiting this. Conversely, if they are willing to take a lot of hands to showdown, then they are folding less, so we won't want to take down many pots against them, but we can instead fold more ourselves to beat them once the cards are turned up.
So tightness or looseness at showdown are going to be more fundamental than the other two characteristics, which are aggressiveness or passiveness. The first group, loose or tight, will dictate the way we'll be looking to win, with aggressiveness or passiveness involving how we're going to look to best proceed on our way toward this primary goal.
Calling Stations Are The Easiest Players To Beat
So now let's look at a different type of player, the loose passive, or calling station. The difference between a loose passive and a loose aggressive is that with the aggressive player, they will lead the action, and also look to get us to fold too much. With the loose passive, they won't be betting or raising near as much, and will do more calling.
So if the two players are similarly loose, which we'll assume they are, there is an additional advantage that we will have against the passive one, which is the fact that they will let us control the action more. So in cases where for instance we are probably behind in a hand, and we'd be folding against a bet, we can now get a lot more free cards against the passive player, while at the same time having them call us more often than not when we do have the likely better hand.
So this is one of the reasons why we don't want to play passive ourselves. Let me elaborate a little more on why this is so bad. If you have me beat, and you let me see the next card for free, then I may make the better hand. Now I bet, you call, and I make money. If you were aggressive, you'd be betting the previous round and taking the pot down. So not only have you missed out on doing that by being too passive, you're now paying me off for sucking out on you, where I'm making additional money from your set of mistakes.
Beating Loose Passives Is Pretty Straightforward
So the strategy against loose passive players is a pretty simple one. We bet when we have something and don't when we don't. Of course not all loose passive players are this easy to beat, but that's the general idea. Since they don't fold that much, it won't help us to try to bluff very often, although there may be spots where even these players fold too much.
For instance, after checking two streets they might fold to a bet on the river. So it's always preferable to look for chinks in a player's armor like this, but generally speaking though, they like to call, and that's what they tend to do most of the time, so it won't do us much good to try to push them off of hands when we're beat if called.
Beating Rocks Is Pretty Simple As Well
The fourth main category is the tight passive player, also known as a rock or a nit. These players generally will only play with a good hand, and will also only bet with one. So what distinguishes them from tight aggressive players is that the tight aggressive will do a lot more betting, and will look to take pots down in addition to looking to play better cards. This of course makes them a lot trickier to play against, although we're not really worried about this and can handle them.
The tight passive player though makes things a lot easier for us, as they aren't really looking to do very much to disguise their hands. They generally play fit or fold, and a bet from them almost always means that they have a strong hand. So in that case, unless we have a stronger one, we can generally fold profitably. If they have a medium strength hand, they will also tell us by not betting but still be willing to call. If they have nothing, which will be the case most of the time, they will just give us the pot.
We Don't Want To Be Any Of These Players Ourselves
So you definitely do not want to be this player, in fact you definitely do not want to be either of the passive types, since they are both much easier to read than aggressive players are. We of course don't want to be any type of player generally other than the type that works best against certain types of opponents.
On the other hand, while we ourselves want to be aggressive fairly often, this is not always going to be the case. With a better hand, against an aggressive player, you may be surprised to know that we want to be more on the passive side. For instance, if I know that you will bet crap but fold if raised, and I can make more money from you firing off multiple barrels, meaning continuing to bluff on later streets, then often times I can beat you out of more of your money by just calling.
Our Doing More Thinking Then They Do Will Really Benefit Us
So I'm being passive, although with my having the better hand, from my perspective someone needs to be taking the initiative to build the pot, although in this case I can rely on you to do it often enough for it to be profitable to do so, and more profitable in fact than my doing the betting or raising. By the way, this is something that even a lot of very good players don't pay anywhere near enough attention to.
There are often two different alternatives, with both being profitable, and just because we find one line profitable doesn't mean we can stop looking. If there is a more profitable line available, like in the above example of letting the opponent do the betting for us and thus put more of his or her money in the pot with a weaker hand, then that's what we need to do.
So we've gone over the four main player types and came up with some general strategies to use against them, and also went over the importance of our not being a certain type, and instead formulating our strategy according to what other people are doing, and at the same time always being observant as to what these tendencies of our opponents actually consist of. This alone is a very powerful strategy and is in fact the basis for all good play.