Home Pay off Poker Strategy: Don’t Pay Tight Players!

Poker Strategy: Don’t Pay Tight Players!


Jonathan SmallDuring my time at last WSOPtime and time again I have seen people play too tight, hoping to get paid every time they got a strong hand.

While everyone should know to just get out of the way when these players decide to play for all their chips, it seemed tight players still often found a way to get some action with or near the nuts. .

The easiest way to avoid set up situations against these tight players is to never give them any action.

Suppose a player, who appears, acts and plays tight, raises to 500 of his 10,000 stacks from second position in the second tier of a big buy-in event. He has only played one hand so far, which turned out to be a pair of kings.

Everyone folds to you on the button. With almost your entire playable range besides aces and kings, you should call. Not because you’re afraid of your opponent or their hand, but because you want to play a pot in position against someone who will essentially turn their hand face up after the flop.

The flop comes KSpades Suit 7Diamond Suit 4Club Suit. Your opponent bets 600 and you call.

If your opponent bets on the turn again, unless you have AK or better, you should fold. If your opponent checks the turn, unless you know they are able to check/call with strong hands like aces and AK, you should bet the turn and river to try to make them lose hands like QQ and 9-9.

This should be your default line against weak, tight, and direct opponents. If you think your opponent would bet most tricks and a few rivers with QQ, or if you think they would never fold QQ on a KXX board, you should probably try to flop a strong hand while just spreading if you miss. .

Although this strategy seems easy enough, I consistently see players call the tight player’s raise with a hand such as KDiamond Suit JClub Suittop pair on the flop, then call down when the tight player makes three big bets!

Suppose the same action as before happens again and you have KDiamond Suit JClub Suit. Folding preflop may be better because you’ll often be outplayed, but let’s assume you hit the turn as it was played. If your opponent bets on any trick besides a king or jack, you fold quite easily. Even if you have top pair, you should realize that most tight players will have a range of exactly AA, AK, and possibly sets, making KJ an easy muck.

As the stacks get shallower and your implied odds decrease, try to fold to the initial raises of tight players. Suppose you have ASpades Suit JClub Suit on the button with 18 big blinds. If a player who hasn’t potted in an hour raises to 2.2 big blinds in early or middle position, you fold quickly even if ASpades Suit JClub Suit is normally a simple 3-bet shove against most opponents.

It’s important to always think about your opponent’s range and how your hand behaves when called. If your opponent’s opening range is the same as they plan to call your all-in with, you need a strong hand to push.

Another situation that often occurs is when you raise to two big blinds on your stack of 20 big blinds and a tight player goes all in for around 20 big blinds.

Let’s say you play 500-1,000 with an ante of 100, you have 20,000 and raise to 2,000 from middle position with ASpades Suit JClub Suit. A super tight player in the big blind goes all in for 19,000. Some players would assume that’s an easy call, but against someone who only goes all in with a range of big pairs, AK and AQ, you have a easy to fold because you only have 32% equity against this range.

All of this is to say that you should rarely give the player a tight action when you have low implied odds. If you can accurately identify your opponent’s range and realize that it has crushed your normally strong hand, you should fold.

It’s important to always compare your hand to your opponent’s range, not the range you or anyone else would play in a similar situation. As long as you know your opponent’s range is way too tight, and therefore incredibly strong, you can make excellent folds, saving countless chips in the long run.

Just be sure not to confuse a loose player with a tight player! ♠

Jonathan Little is twice WPT champion with over $7 million in live tournament winnings, bestselling author of 15 poker educational books and 2019 PGI Poker Personality of the Year. If you want to increase your poker skills and learn how to smash the games, check out his training site at PokerCoaching.com/cardplayer.