Expectation And Hourly Rate The Fundamental Theorem Of Poker The Ante Structure Pot Odds Effective Odds Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds The Value of Deception Win the Big Pots Right Away The Free Card The Semi-Bluff Defense Against the Semi-Bluff Raising Check-Raising Slowplaying Loose and Tight Play Position Bluffing Game Theory and Bluffing Inducing and Stopping Bluffs Hands-Up On The End Reading Hands The Psychology of Poker Analysis at the Table Evaluating the Game


Loose poker players play a large percentage of hands. They have relatively low starting requirements, and they continue in the pot with relatively weak hands.

Tight players play a small percentage of hands. Their starting requirements are high, and  they are quick to throw away weak hands that don ’t develop into big hands.

Some players always play loose. Others always play tight. Good players adjust their play to the game.

In Chapter Four we saw how the size of the ante relative to later bets is a primary consideration in deciding how loose or tight you should play.

The higher the ante, the looser you play. The smaller the ante, the tighter you play.

With a high antre, there is more money in the pot from the start; and the more money there might not be worth playing were the ante very small.

With a small ante, on the other hand, there’s no point in gambling with marginal hands, especially when you know other players in the game are likely to be betting and calling only with big hands.

Which bring us to a second consideration in deciding how loose or tight to play – namely, the way in which the other players in the game play.

Assuming a normal ante – about 10 percent of the average future bets – it is commonly believed that when the players in play the game loose, you should play tight, and when the players in the game play tight, you should play loose.

There is some truth to this principle.  For example, you can steal antes with anything (a loose play) much more successfully against tight players, who are likely to call you with those same hands.

However, the principle of playing loose against tight players and tight against loose players is in need of refinement.


Semi-Bluffs in Loose Games

Remember that in a normal game, semi-blufs have three ways of winning – by making the best hand later, by catching a skare card to make oppodent fold later, or by making opponents fld immediately.

It is these three possible ways of winning that make semi-bluffs profitable plays.

But what is likely to happen in a loose game? First, loose players don ’t fold easily, so your semi-bluffs will rarely win immediately.

Second, loose players are more likely to want to “Keep you honest” with a call than are average and tight players.

Consequently, one of the ways a semi-bluff can win – when opponents fold immediately has been all but completely eliminated; and a second way – when you catch scare cards – becomes doubtful. win the big pots right away.

Without these two extra ways of winning, semi-bluffs no longer have positive expectation.

Therefore, you must abandon most semi-bluffs when there’s a high probability that the only way they can win is by improving to the best hand.

With respect to semi-bluffing, then, it’s true that you must play much tighter in a loose game.


Tight Games