Tight passive poker players can be frustrating opponents. If you recognize passive, tight poker players when you are playing against them, you can adjust your game to take advantage of their tendencies though. Here's how.
Tight poker players tend to play fewer hands than the other players at the table. This can be 10 to 15% in otherwise tight games, or even up to 20 to 25% in looser games. Most online poker games are loose, especially at the lower to medium level tables, so a tight player will usually be somewhere around 20% of flops seen. Understand that though playing a tight passive style is not the best overall strategy to win consistently, a tight player enters most pots with a better hand on average than his or her opponents. This makes the tight passive player dangerous. Surprisingly, most players are aware that tight aggressive play is the best style, but most of them simply can't or won't play correctly. Many of them are able to start playing tighter but can't figure out the right level of aggression. This is where most of the tight passive crowd comes into play. But even the tightest players will have a hard time winning consistently if they couple it with a passive strategy.
The Big Leak in the Tight Passive Poker Player's Game
The big leak in the tight passive players game is the way they play after the flop. They tend to check and call instead of betting and raising which lets a good player, like you, control the action. They will also limp with many hands pre flop that they should raise with letting you see a flop for cheap. This makes drawing hands like smaller pocket pairs and suited connectors more valuable. It is almost always good to try to hit a set against tight passive players because they let you see the flop for cheap and then let you control the size of the pot after the flop. You are much more likely to build a pot to over eight times your original pre flop bet (which is what you need to be profitable trying to hit a set on the flop) against a passive player than an aggressive one. The aggressive player may bet and raise for you, but when you miss on the flop they won't let you continue without paying a price. The passive player may also let you see the turn and sometimes even the river for free to hit a set or complete a flush draw. So the two most important things to remember when playing against tight passive poker players are that they will enter pots with good starting hands on average, but they will also give away control of most hands after the flop.
How to Beat Tight Passive Poker Players
The main way to beat tight passive poker players is to play as tight as they play, but play aggressively instead of passively. You can also loosen up your starting hand requirements slightly against them if they are letting you control the post flop action. But it's dangerous to loosen up your starting hand requirements too much because there is a reason that the best starting hand wins more often than not. Don't give up too much of an advantage by playing poor hands. The biggest mistake is playing suited connectors with gaps or lower rank. Decent starting hand suited connectors against a tight passive player are hands like KQ suited, QJ suited and J10 suited. Hands that are not strong enough are 10 8 suited and 9 6 suited. You just give up too much when playing against an above average starting hand. For example, if a tight passive player limps from middle position and you're on the button with KQ suited, you should play. You will have position the entire hand, assuming the blinds don't raise you will have 3 1/2 or more bets in the pot and when you flop a draw to a straight or flush you should be able to get the odds you need to call a flop bet or check behind the other players for a free look at the turn. If you had 10 8 suited instead, even though you have position you should probably fold. The main reason is because if you flop a pair, you are probably still behind to a better starting hand. While position is important against every type of poker playing style, it is especially important against tight passive players. A tight passive player will almost always check after the flop. This lets you see the turn for free if you need to, or build the pot if you have a strong post flop hand. If you don't have position, you have to try to lead by either checking and hope they check behind you or bet and hope they either call or fold behind you, depending on what you want them to do. By combining position with the leaks in the tight passive players game, you can turn a consistent profit against them.
Passive Poker Players Let You Maximize Wins and Minimize Losses
Passive poker players let you have your best chance to maximize wins and minimize losses. The best poker players are always thinking about how to do this. They try to maximize their winning hands by putting money into the pot while they are ahead and minimizing their losses by keeping pots small where their chances of winning are not as good. You need to take advantage of passive players by always thinking about these same things. Every hand you play is an opportunity to maximize your winnings. Because of this you have to think the hand through before entering the pot so you know what you are going to do later in the hand. This starts as a fairly simple thing, but it can lead to many different possibilities as the hand plays out. For example, when deciding whether to limp into a pot you need to decide if you will call a raise behind you or fold. This seems simple enough, but then you have to decide what can happen after the flop if you call a raise and don't improve your hand. Or what are you going to do if you hit your hand to maximize your winnings? To become the best poker player you can be you have to think ahead and use this information in combination with what you know about your opponents to make the best possible decisions. Passive players make this a little easier.
What should you do if you are sitting at a table filled with tight passive players? The best thing to do would be finding a table filled with loose aggressive players. The Internet poker rooms are filled with tables full of players so you can usually find a good table when you are looking for one. But if you don't have an option, the best course of action is to play your best hands very aggressively and get away from your lesser hands as quickly as possible. Tight players will have good starting hands so you should not play marginal hands. Especially ones that may not win even when they improve. It is challenging to turn much profit against a bunch of tight passive players, so tread lightly.
How to Be a Tight Passive Poker Player
There are very few tables where a tight passive style of play will be profitable over the long run. Just playing tight in a table full of loose players can sometimes be profitable, but playing passively will only cost you money. When you play a passive overall style you let your opponents draw to better hands without making the price incorrect for them to do so. There are times when playing selectively passive is correct, but don't confuse that with overall passive play. The correct play when drawing to a flush or straight when you are getting good pot odds is to check or call, but this is not the same as playing passively all the time. When you have a made hand but there are draws out that can beat you when they are hit, you need to make it unprofitable for your opponents to call. They will hit their draw sometimes, but if they pay too much to do so they will lose money to you in the long run. This is really all you can do as a poker player. Only play when you are getting the correct price and forcing your opponents to pay more than the correct price when they play.