Opponents Playing Styles

Playing styles have a big influence on how each player will choose to act in a hand. Playing styles generally fall into one of the following four categories

Loose-passive players are free with their money, but their actions tend to follow the other players. Loose-passive players enter most hands and call just about every bet, but they rarely bet or raise on their own. Generally, these players are the most profitable people to play against. Beware though, since they play every hand, potentially, they can have any hand. It's difficult to know the cards they are playing. While most of their hands are weak, they can surprise you.

Loose-aggressive players are also free with money, but they  thrive on action and want to be the center of attention. Loose- aggressive players raise often, even with weak cards. If they act after you, make sure you have a strong hand that justifies calling their expected raise. It's not their hand you have to worry about beating, but other players with strong cards who call their raises. Loose-aggressive players lose a lot of money, but if too many of them are at a table, the entire game becomes loose-aggressive. In such a game, there are many pre-flop raises and large pots contested by many players with the flimsiest of hands. Only play with strong starting cards that justify a large pre-flop expense. Against these players, you'll have large swings in your bankroll, but you don't have to win many pots to come out ahead.

Tight-passive players are followers at the table, but very careful with their money. Tight-passive players typically buy-in for a small amount of money and guard it. They seldom bet, rarely raise, and call bets only when they have a great hand. You won't lose money at a table full of these kinds of players, but it's difficult to make much, either. When tight-passive players dominate the table, pots are smaller because few players enter each hand and there are few showdowns. To win money, you need to win many small pots by being aggressive. Bet and raise with marginal cards to intimidate these players out of the hand.

Tight-aggressive players are careful with their money, but when they do play, they seize the initiative. Tight-aggressive players enter few hands, but when they do, they have strong cards. They bet and raise aggressively, forcing the other players to pay dearly if they decide to chase. If you find yourself at a table filled with tight-aggressive players, you should consider switching to another table, especially if you are new to poker. It is easy to find yourself outplayed and your money quickly gone in this kind of game. Study the play of tight-aggressive players since you should aspire to be one.

The playing style of each person at the table influences the personality of the table as a whole. The personality of the table is important early in a hand, especially when deciding whether or not to see the flop. As the hand progresses and fewer players remain, individual personalities become more important. You need to note both the group personality (when entering a hand) and the personality of the individuals (when you go up against opponents one-on-one).