Tight - A conservative playing style.
Investors choose their investments based partially on the level of risk they are comfortable assuming. If they are comfortable with a
high level of risk, they will make high risk investments, but will also expect a greater return on the capital they have invested.
Investors who are more risk adverse choose investments with a lower level of risk associated with them, and a lower potential for both
profit and loss. From this perspective, investing is largely about managing risk.
A poker player is like an investor in many ways. Each time they
act on their hand, it is an opportunity to invest or
to not invest in the current pot. A personís playing style tends to reflect their own personal level of risk aversion. A player who is
more comfortable with risk will not shy away from marginal investment opportunities, and this will lead to them playing more hands.
This style of play is described as being loose. At the other end of the spectrum sits the player who is highly risk adverse. This
player will avoid marginal situations like the plague. They will tend to put money into the pot only when they have an obviously
profitable situation, and will tend to throw their hand away if they are not sure. This type of play is described as being tight.
All players fall somewhere on this loose-tight continuum, based upon their level of risk aversion, and the style of play that they
have chosen to adopt. How aggressive you are is also indicative of your playing style, and there is a second passive-aggressive
continuum which is frequently mentioned in tandem with the loose-tight continuum when discussing playing style. A player who raises
and bluffs frequently is characterized as being aggressive. A player who frequently checks and is predominantly non-aggressive is
referred to as being passive. Most players will adopt a playing style which is either tight aggressive (TAG), loose aggressive (LAG)
loose passive (LP), or tight passive (TP). While even the top professionals will have some variation between how tight and how
aggressive they play, all playing styles are not created equal, because there is a natural edge built into the game for players who
adopt a TAG style of play.
Most winning players will play relatively tight, because starting hand selection is so critical to success. Once you get behind in a
poker hand, you are generally at a disadvantage, and it can be extremely difficult to catch up. This is why it makes sense to try to
start with the best hand whenever you can, and you can accomplish this largely through tight preflop play.
There is also a natural advantage for aggressive play. Most poker hands never make it to
showdown, they are won when a player bets and the
rest of the players all throw their hands away. Players who tend to bet and raise aggressively will be in a much better position to
win more of these pots then their more passive opponents. In other words, when you bet, you can win the pot in either of two ways. You
can show down the best hand, or you can also win if you bet or raise and nobody calls you. If, on the other hand, you check, you can
only win the pot by showing down the best hand. If you do not bet, you do not give your opponents an opportunity to throw their hands
away. As you can see, there is a natural advantage to both tight play and aggressive play, and therefore, most winning players have
chosen to adopt a TAG playing style.
Good players will also be able to adjust their playing style slightly, based upon how their opponents choose to play. It has been said
that you should tend to make adjustments in the opposite direction of the play at your table, and there is much truth in this. If you
are at a tight passive table, you should adjust your play slightly to become more loose aggressive. If you are at a loose aggressive
table, you should adjust your play in the tight passive direction. This allows you to counter your opponents play most effectively.
Keep in mind that you are simply making minor adjustments to your game and are not adopting an entirely new playing style. You are
simply tailoring your game to best respond to the individual actions of your opponents.
Usage: Tighten Up, You Play Tight, He Is A Tight Player
Also see: ABC player,
TAG - Tight Aggressive Playing
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