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Position & Playing Style

Tight Aggressive Style

Tight-aggressive is the best way for a beginner to play, so here's a definition of "tight" and a definition of "aggressive" and how the two combine.

Although there are numerous styles of play, and various players adapt their games to suit specific circumstances and opponents, one basic, successful Texas Hold'em strategy is to play tight-aggressive poker.

The PokerSchoolOnline courses tend to focus on tight-aggressive play as it is the best for a beginner to adopt.

"Tight" means playing strong hands and folding weak ones. Meanwhile an "aggressive" player will bet and raise, and only rarely call. Somebody who plays tight and aggressive waits for profitable situations and consistently takes advantage of them.

As always in poker, there are many situations that demand slight deviations from the rules. But learn how to grasp the basics first and then take it from there.

Keep It Tight

There are 169 different starting hands in Texas Hold'em, but most of the profit comes from only a few of them.

Sometimes you will be dealt premium hands - pocket aces and the like - but more often you will get weak hands such as , or trash hands like . If you have a weak starting hand and your opponent has a strong one, you are at a significant disadvantage right from the start.

Even professional poker players aren't able to make a long-term profit in these situations. It is therefore important to fold before the flop if you don't have a strong starting hand.

This playing style is called "tight", as you are very selective and only play hands where you think you have an advantage. At a table with nine players you should only play 15 to 20 per cent of the hands you are dealt, on average. This means you should fold before the flop in four out of five cases.

Some opponents won't stick to this recommendation and play almost every hand, which is a style of play known as "loose".

Stay aggressive

Aggression is good in poker.  It describes a style that involves frequent bets and raises, and calling rarely, in order to influence the game in your favour. Almost all successful poker professionals play aggressively. It's very important to bet consistently when you have the best hand so that the maximum amount of money goes into the pot.

You want your opponent to be calling if you have a hand that is favourite to win.

It is also profitable if all your opponents fold their cards, giving you the pot without having to show your hand. This is only possible if you are betting and raising a lot.

If you play passively (ie, the opposite of aggressively), then the pot stays small and you offer your opponent the chance of improving their hand.

They can check to see more cards, or to take the hand to showdown where you will be forced to show what you are holding.

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