Texas Hold ‘Em: Your Opponents

When you sit down to play poker, there is one thing that you need to figure out very quickly: what types of players you are going against. Poker analysts and strategists agree that there are four basic categories that players fall into.


These players do not maximize the hands they are given and while they can do fine in fixed-limit games, they generally don’t do as well at No-Limit poker. If you’re playing against a tight-passive person, you’ll want to make sure that you control the game as much as possible.

Bluff at the flop when you can if you see they’re after you in the rotation and the others have backed out. Unless they’ve got a strong hand, they’ll back out. You’ll want to be careful with your bluffs – fold pre-flop if you have nothing and if you make a flop bluff, think twice before doing the same on the turn.

However, if they raise or call you and you’ve bet a lot, then you want to walk away. Tight-Passive players can be tamed and that means that you can turn them into calling stations or folding stations. If you’re losing money to them, then you are doing something wrong.


These players exist and they basically have one hope in life: players will bluff into them because they generally call with hands that are not quite the nuts. Calling with the second-best hand is basically asking to give your money to other players, especially in no-limit games.

The best way to drain a loose-passive player dry is to make mid-size bets that get them in the hand when you’re holding something better.


There are two different types of loose-aggressive players: the strong type and the maniacs. We’ll discuss the maniacs first as they need to be separated from the “legitimate” loose-aggressive players.

Maniacs will buy into a lot of pots, but they’ll also get themselves trapped and lose their stacks in just a couple of hands. They have no discipline and that’s why they tend to play in no-limit games. These are rare players, for the most part, and that’s why you need to be aware of them so you don’t mistake them for loose-aggressive players that are strong.

The strong loose-aggressive players are, in a word, dangerous. They’ll seem like maniacs, but they’re going to win huge pots more often than not and that’s why some of the best players in the world use this style.

It’s not recommended that any beginner try going down this path. The best way to take on a strong loose-aggressive player is by reading them as best as you can and draw them into a pot where they finally go all-in.


This is the style most poker teachers recommend, and for good reason. It allows you to keep your eye on your bankroll and maximize your chances, but it requires a lot of discipline. It’s also the most dangerous player to come across as these players bluff only occasionally and play their good hands to the hilt.

If you’ve identified another player as tight-aggressive and they raise, back out while you can.