What are the main
Poker is a devilishly tricky game, especially if you are a
beginner just starting out and trying to understand how the game is played, as
well as how you want to play it. Poker style and personality is of course, not
totally uniform. Top players, such as Dan Harrington, can switch up the way they
play at the drop of hat and adapt to any situation.
If you are just learning the ropes, it can be good to test
out the different most common ‘personalities’ to see what you are comfortable
with, what you are good at and what is going to make you more successful. James Altucher once called poker, “a skill game
pretending to be a chance game,” and picking a personality is a real skill.
A poker personality is partly down how you decide to play
the game but also relates to the attitude you have and the way you think about
the cards in your hand. The four main personalities are defined by two key
Firstly deciding whether to play tight or loose is very important. A tight player will not play with many hands, folding often
and then going for it when they sense a real opportunity. This can be great as
a beginner as it lowers risk but at the same time it lowers reward. On the flip
side you have loose play which involves being willing to play more often, which
can pay off or backfire. As a beginner you can try out these two different
extremes and see which one suits you.
The next decision is whether to be passive or aggressive,
this will define the way you interact with other players. Being tight or loose
changes how your view your own cards, being passive or aggressive changes how
you play those cards. A passive player will play relatively cautiously going
with the flow and will often call rather than raising. They will play slowly
and try and read other players before making decisions. Aggressive players on
the other hand like to force the issue, they will often raise and try and put
pressure on other players. This can work very well by convincing other players
to fold or make mistakes but it can also be reckless if you aren’t careful.
Poker personalities then come from combining these two
different categories. You have to select if you are going to be tight or loose
then passive or aggressive. When you do make sure to take advantage of these free bets to test and hone your skills. The combinations then are tight passive, tight
aggressive, loose passive and loose aggressive. Your selection can make and
break your game and can take you onto the next level.
A tight passive player will be very cautious and will only
go in when they are sure they have a good chance of winning, they might not
play many hands but when they do they will be sure of winning. This strategy
might make sense as a beginner but as you improve and get better you might want
to consider moving away from this personality.
Tight aggressive players are slightly less cautious, even
though they might not play so many hands, when they do decide to play they try
to pressure other players by raising. They are more confident than tight
passive players and more willing to take risk, but they are always calculated
Loose passive players will be more willing to play than
tight passive players but have a greater range of hands they would consider
worth playing with. They will sit back and let others take risks but will be
willing to keep calling when they think they can win. Finally, loose aggressive
players are the biggest risk takers, they will be constantly betting and
willing to take the game to other players, this might be better for slightly
more advanced players.
You can see the importance then of picking the right
personality, be sure to try out playing in different ways and enjoy learning
and getting better.