Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tight Limit Players

Posted by a very prolific member of Poker Source Online's forums (he's almost caught me in posts!)

I play both limit and no limit and have found both to be very profitable. I'm just picky about the cards I play. Doesn't matter if it's no limit, or limit, I don't see that many flops usually. I've sat at limit tables for over an hour without calling the blinds a single time. I just don't play the dink cards, any two suited, connectors, or any of that kind of thing. I need two paint (suited or not), a/? suited, or a pocket pair to see a flop. Aces are where I'm currently tweaking. Ace/Facecard is an easy call. Ace/8-Ace/9 I'll call the blinds most of the time Ace/5 or less is a toss hand for me most of the time. A/6-A/7 is what I'm tweaking right now. So yes, I'm very picky about the cards I play, but I have the time to be picky. It works for me and I have no complaints . Of course, like anyone else, I might play something like 10/9 suited if I just get bored or want to change it up a bit, but it doesn't happen often.

My response:

Again, I am not trying to insult you.

But I LOVE playing against people like you at limit poker. Tight players that only play certain hands are the easiest to beat, and you can ask Lifesagrind or Krager, I EAT YOUR TYPE OF PLAYER FOR LUNCH at limit poker. They have experienced it first hand.

For the simple reason that I always know what you have. If I always know what you have, I always know what it takes to beat you. Sure you are going to catch a set once in a while with your pocket pair and beat me, but most of the time I can lay down a hand VERY CHEAPLY and get out of your way.

But since you are playing so few hands, you have to play them very aggressively in order to make your play worthwhile over time. I can either catch good cards to beat you, or get out of your way. But I will steal your blind every time it comes to you. You will never get to play your small blind EVER, unless it is a monster.

The best hands you make with Aces or Kings is usually top pair or a big two pair. But if you get a lot of callers, you are going to get rivered by straights and flushes constantly. And if you are in late position with your aces and kings, you are going to get lots of calls from the limpers in front of you that only have to call one more bet with their suited cards, and their unsuited connectors. And those hands, in multiples, are GREAT HANDS against TPTK or some such hand. If you are only playing Ace and a face or better, it is very easy to tell when you've hit or not. You might as well be playing your hands face up.

Your strategy of playing only the highest quality hands works great in No Limit or Pot Limit poker where you can protect your hand with a decent sized pre-flop raise. But you can't get the speculation hands to fold with a one-small-bet raise. It's just never going to happen.

If what you say is true, that you make good money playing limit this way (and I don't doubt that you do) then it is only because you routinely play profitable tables against poor opponents who call way too long with no hand and no draw. But you will NEVER be able to move up into mid or high limit poker with your style of play. The LAGs will eat you alive.

I know it sounds like I am putting you down, but I'm not. In fact, I bet you're not the rock you say you are, because I want people to THINK I'm a rock when I play, when in fact I play more like a fox. But the rock image can be valuable, if you need people to lay down hands. Conversely sometimes I show REALLY BAD cards early if I think I am going to want action. Sometimes I even raise with 7-2. Once you have shown your 7-2 after raising it and betting it the whole time, guess what? You are going to get TONS of action on your big hands. Again, ask Lifesagrind and Krager. They have seen this strategy at work.

The best part is that you are the easiest guy to spot at the table. You are the guy who folds his big blind when there are 4 players that called a raise in front of you. Or you fold your small blind when 8 players limped in front of you.

If you think everyone that calls with J3 in limit poker is an idiot, then you SIMPLY DON'T know what you are talking about. There are OFTEN times in limit poker where calling with J3 is ABSOLUTELY the right play to make.

In fact, I won a HUGE pot with J6 last week, and a guy BLEW UP at me for beating his aces with it. All I had to do was call one small bet ($4) pre-flop to get into a $40 pot from the big blind. Guess what? The flop had a J6 in it, and I let the guy with aces bet himself silly and then raised him on the river when the board didn't pair. But the trick to the hand was knowing what the guy had, and knowing what I had to beat. This guy played a hundred hands without raising. What else could he have had?

Everyone learns to play tight. Against bad players, it may be the only way to win. I think playing tight is a necessary part of the progression to becoming a better poker player. But at some point you have to progress past the point of playing tight aggressive poker. One thing about being GOOD tight player is knowing when someone is playing a good loose aggressive game, or if he is just a wild maniac playing everything and catching cards like crazy. Because if you do it right, it's not so easy to tell.

1 comment:

High Plains Drifter said...

I learned texas holdem as a no-limit game. Now that I'm playing online for real money, I'm playing a lot more limit.

I'm bookmarking this article, as a little reminder of why super-tight isn't always right.

Keep up the good work.