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Adjusting play for tight tables in ring games

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  • Adjusting play for tight tables in ring games

    Hey there..

    I'm currently playing mostly fixed limit ring games. Most of the time when I look for a table I try and find the loosest one possible (i.e. highest % of players per flop and highest average pot) and when I play TAG style I generally do pretty well and walk away with more cash than I started with 9 times out of 10.

    However, sometimes players leave and new ones join and the table gets a lot tighter. It makes it a lot harder playing TAG style since when you do wind up with the nuts, either everyone folds to you, or the pot ends up pretty small anyway..

    I've started getting the hang of trying to steal a little more, and betting on scare cards and so on in the right situation, but was wondering if people had any more concrete tips to milk the most out of these tables, especially as it is alot easier to find a tight table than a loose one.

  • #2
    Note, I'm a no-limit player, but this advice should transfer over.

    Leaving the table is probably the best option, unless you can adopt a loose aggressive style. Play lots of pots in position. Float a lot of flops. Think of the spots that make you uncomfortable when playing TAG and exploit them. For instance, TAGs hate 89J with two of a suit flops, or having their C-bet raised on an A- or K-high board. Since you're getting so many folds from all those tight players, play more for folds than for value until they adjust. If a TAG player limps in raise him. If he calls he usually has a pocket pair and you can take him off any flop where he hasn't spiked a set. Any time you get action from a rock postflop, give up unless you have a very strong hand. You're usually behind his range.
    4 Time Bracelet Winner


    • #3
      Quote form Mike Caro: Any time your opponents deviate form optimal poker, it is in your best interests to LOOSEN UP.

      Now before you get me wrong, loosening too far will tend to get you in trouble. But if you have found that villains are playing "too tightly", it is in your best interests to try getting involved with more hands with them, so you can exploit your observations.

      The question really hinges on HOW are they "too tight"?

      Do they enter on big un-paired hands, and always check/fold all low boards?

      If so, play hands that will tend to hit those low boards more often, and bet into their checks. It helps to not go over board by restricting your entries to hands which may flop 8 or 9 out draws to give your efforts some semi bluff potential, but betting into checks may be made on total "air" at times too.

      Do they limp BIG hands, then check/call until the big bet streets, and pound you?

      If so, flat them with position on a wider range of DRAW type hands, and accept the "free cards" when offered.

      Do they see "monsters under the bed"?

      If so, float them with the intent to bet scare cards such as the 3rd flush or straight card, As coming on boards where they might have betting an over pair, etc.

      A lot of these plays can be profitable even if you do not win them all.

      If you lack the info to really distinguish specific "leaks", and how you can exploit them, then Oriholic is spot on: change games. On line there is such a plethora of available games that finding one which suits your prefered style of play, and maximizes your profitability within that prefered style, should be quite easy with a little effort. When you find someone whose game tends to play into your prefered style, note their name. When you return later, search that person out and see if you can find a seat at their table.

      Game selection is a MAJOR part of playing long term winning poker, so if you have not developed the skills yet to see and exploit certain opponents, until you do, there is nothing wrong with only getting into games that are profitable for you.
      Double Bracelet Winner


      • #4
        JDean wrote a very comprehensive post but I just want to say something about ABC tight players. You see this a lot because they multi table so they arn't thinkers, just on the fly mathematicians.

        ABC type tight players are some of the biggest fish around. This is because many flops are clearly out of their range. They will only hit something on the flop 1/3 of the time which means if they are playing a fit or fold style then 2/3 of the time you can take down the pot with any two cards. You don't donk bet into them or c bet if the cards are in their range i.e. they are playing 10/6 and they raise under the gun and the flop comes A, K, J, you just want to fold there or if you're out of position just check/fold (unless you have a hand, of course!). However, if the flop comes 6, 9, 4 rainbow then you can donk bet into them or call their c bet and see if they shut down on the turn. If they want to put more chips in the middle they may have an overpair then you have to fold unless you have a good holding but most of the time they will fold, making it a +ev play.

        Out of position I just donk bet into flops that don’t hit their range, regardless of my cards. If I have air and they want to put more money in the pot then I fold. It is +ev though since more often than not they will fold to your donk bet (you of course use the donk bet stat on the HUD to see how often they are folding and whether they are really a fit or fold player).

        You can do some more stuff in position though. If they c bet you can call, they often then check since they have nothing and just were cbetting because they think it is a good thing to do 100% of the time or they do have something but think you will bet (if they only c bet 30% of the time then don't call unless you have a strong holding). At this point you can just check behind them and take a free card. This happens a lot and some of the time you will improve your hand to more than a marginal holding. They will think you’re weak, often bet, then since you now have a good hand you can reraise them. Because we checked behind we probably don’t have a lot of money in the pot so at this point it is not necessary to shove or go crazy. However, if they shove in response to your reraise then you’re in a spot where you have to assess the strength of your holding. This is the disadvantage of more looser play. It can put you in tough spots. You need to think ahead with your hand and assess whether you’re willing to get it in with your current holding or possible improved holdings. If you’re not willing to get it in then with your improved holding from your free card then it probably isn’t safe to be raising that hand against this type of player. If you’re not willing to raise it then you probably shouldn’t even be calling. This is where people go wrong with playing loosely against these types of players. You’re a shark, they are the fish. You’re trying to catch them. You take a little bite here and a little bite there until you can eat the entire fish. If the fish fights back it is time to swim away and come back for another bite in another hand.
        Last edited by Ravzar; Sun Nov 20, 2011, 08:58 AM.


        • #5
          If the table gets tight, either loosen up your game, or find a new table.

          6 Time Bracelet Winner


          • #6
            I usually want to be the tightest person, at a loose table and the loosest at a tight table. Contrary poker has made me more than a few bucks in my poker lifetime.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Tomcrockpot View Post
              Hey there..

              However, sometimes players leave and new ones join and the table gets a lot tighter. It makes it a lot harder playing TAG style since when you do wind up with the nuts, either everyone folds to you, or the pot ends up pretty small anyway..

              I am also no limit player (micro), I am also on the same boat as you when playing ABC TAG poker, everybody just folds when I raise or bet on the flop, especially if they see me showing down with good hands yes, even at micro nowdays.... what I do is bet a little to showdown a loosing hand with Jack poohs or whatever, but the trick is to to showdown a loosing card very cheaply maybee a couple of times, you want your opponents to think youre loose when in fact youre not, having said that, easier said than done and an awesome way to loose money =) but the theory is, you will get paid more when you do hit your good cards because they think youre bluffing again. Its good when it works.


              • #8
                I think people have the wrong idea of what a TAG is. There are almost no real TAGs in the microstakes. There are a lot of rocks who think they are playing TAG though. If you're playing 10% of hands you're just a rock, even in full ring. You need to open more hands in the cut off and button. Aim to play more like 20% of your hands on average (in full ring, you want to play a little bit more in 6 max). The problem with playing 10% of hands is that you will get no action on a lot of hands or lose a lot of hands anyway since people just exploit your play. I also don't like the 'ABC' style of play since it is all around bad play. You should be trying to exploit your opponents. If my opponent cbets 100% of the time then I can float them in position with anything i.e. call their cbet, see if they check on the turn, if they do I bet. I could have complete air. This is just an example of what a little more thinking can do. You can pick up far more pots. Playing an ABC rocky/tight style or even an ABC TAG style without exploiting your opponents may not even offset variance/bad beats. ABC tight styles are more for casinos vs drunks, but online at 5nl+ you want to start thinking a bit more rather than playing fit or fold.



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