You know that a game is complex if players can have their own “styles of play.” These styles are what makes poker exciting but difficult, as we need to learn what styles other players prefer and ultimately find a style of our own.
So, what exactly are styles in poker? Basically, it’s just the way you bet and how you approach various hands. Every poker player has a style, but some might use them on purpose, while others simply adopt a style without actually realizing it.
Therefore, by learning more about poker styles, you will be able to understand how other players play and know how to respond.
Styles are just like the game of rock, paper, scissors, as every particular style of play has another that is successful against it. It’s the chess level of playing poker, and to master it, you need to devote thousands of hours playing this game.
Starting Hands Styles
Depending on the starting hands and their strength, players can be divided into two basic categories: loose and tight.
Loose players don’t have a high standard when it comes to their starting hands, meaning they will call or even raise a bet even if the odds of actually getting a good hand are pretty low. Therefore, they will often make bets and avoid folding, especially in the pre-flop round of betting.
By simply observing how often one calls bets in the first round, you can determine whether a player is loose or tight.
On the other hand, if players often fold their hands right from the start, we could say that they don’t like risking, and they are playing “tightly.” Therefore, if a person’s number of hands they fold is big, you could put a “tight” label on them.
There are also two types of basic betting styles — passive and aggressive. Passive players are the ones who often check without raising any bets during the betting rounds. Aggressive players will call and raise more often than they check, even if their cards are not that good to support their betting decisions.
Once again, you can decide whether a player is passive or aggressive just by observing and creating patterns of your own.
Styles Are The Combo of Betting and Hands
Poker styles are actually a combination of how players bet and their actions related to their hands. Therefore, they can be tight/passive, loose/passive, tight/active, and loose/active.
Each of these four types comes with certain advantages and disadvantages that you can learn along the way. The most important thing to know is that each style is effective in some situations and against some players while completely ineffective against others.
At this point, you probably wonder — which playstyle is the best for you? Well, there’s no way to tell, as styles are often related to our characters.
Ultimately, you need to be comfortable adopting any of these playstyles any time you want to maximize your winning ratio.
There’s no better way to learn about playstyles in poker than actually playing the game and learning to recognize patterns by yourself. Once you get good at learning patterns and labeling players according to their styles, you will be able to adapt to them and get the most out of them.
One thing that you need to take into account is that you are going to stumble upon players who are also knowledgeable in styles and assume the ones they think are the most effective at any given situation. This is where poker becomes a game of chess and where you need to outsmart your opponents to win the game.