When setting out to master the game of poker you will undoubtedly come across a plethora of poker strategy books and online articles. Most new players to the game play a very conservative strategy to begin with, as they are just getting used to the hand rankings and the game rules. As you study the game more, however, you will want to establish a set poker strategy to help your chances of winning. There are two main types of poker strategy; the tight ‘ABC’ player and the loose aggressive player.
The ABC player follows a conservative poker strategy. His strategy actually doesn’t deviate too much from the newbie who has just learnt the hand-rankings and the rules of the game. The ABC player will wait until he has a strong starting hand and in good position at the table before betting aggressively. He will muck/discard most other hands.
The difference between the newbie and the ABC – often known as a ‘TAG’ or ‘tight aggressive’ player – is that the ABC is much more calculated in his methods. He is looking to exploit overly loose and reckless players at the table and looking to maximise his profit when he has a strong hand – get ‘paid off’.
The ABC conservative method is a poker strategy mainly employed by older generation players like Dan Harrington. In today’s modern game they can sometimes be easily dominated by the young, aggressive, fearless online generation of players.
Loose Aggressive Strategy
The loose aggressive poker strategy – often called a ‘LAG’ by some or a ‘maniac’ by others – is the strategy largely employed by the young, modern, internet generation.
It is a strategy that involves over-playing pre-flop a wide range of hands from all positions. Whereas the ABC might fold a hand like six/seven suited, the LAG might re-raise a raise pre-flop with such a hand. The idea of this strategy is that it disguises when you really do have a great starting hand and it also means that your hand when a ragged looking flop is dealt is somewhat of a mystery.
This is obviously a very effective strategy but you must be highly skilled in your poker knowledge in order to operate this madness with a method. Arguably the LAG needs to be of a higher skill level than the ABC TAG.
Game Poker Strategy
In truth, most advanced players will operate a combination of both styles. You must be able to adapt to the table conditions. A basic rule of thumb is, when the rest of the table are playing loosely, you play tighter in order to get your big hands paid off. On the flip-side, when the rest of the table are playing tight, you play loose and scoop up lots of uncontested blinds and antes.
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