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Expert review by

Tight poker player

Everyone knows that poker is not only a game of strategy, but also of style. Almost every professional player has their own way of playing the game. But there are also several groups.

And we will take a closer look at one of them.  The topic of the material will be a tight game of poker – more precisely, the main characteristics of a tight player.

In this overview article we will find out what a tight poker player is. We will try to find out the special, distinctive features of such players and discuss their behaviour at the gaming table.

Who is a tight poker player


And we start by interpreting the definition of what a tight poker player is. This is a participant who does not like to take risks very much, and for this reason he enters the draw only with the strongest combinations.
He has a cautious play style, doesn’t like to raise, has a medium hand and almost never bluffs. His activity or diligent struggle can only be shown if he has a maximum or a monster combination.
The tight style of play is one of cold calculation and restraint, proponents will choose to fold with good cards than raises and even more so reraises. In fact, if you do not use this format on a regular basis, then you can make your game really good. Indeed, in some situations at the table, being a tight participant is even useful.

Basic rules for a tight player

Let’s now take a closer look at exactly what guides and differentiates players who choose this style of play.
A tight player does not reach the flop if his hand consists of middle or trash cards.
Such participants are ready to play if they have good pairs or significant connectors, ideally from cards with “pictures” – a king with an ace, a queen with a king or an ace, and the like.
Another rule and a sign of being tight is not to bluff in the fight against the opponent, these are still aggressive risks.
A tight player can afford to reach showdown (to show his cards in the final of the hand) only with the best possible hand – with the strongest combination.
Another tight taboo is calling as a response to bets if the cards allow you to collect only an average combination.

Two types of tight poker players

The tight poker style combines two main types of players: tight-aggressive and tight-passive participants. Both of these groups have a common basis, but also their own distinctive features.
Tight-aggressive players are distinguished by the presence of raises and bold, and sometimes unexpected decisions at the table. And passive tight players with regular checks, careful calling and not very large bets.

Tight-aggressive style – characteristics

It should be noted that among professional poker players who play live tournaments, the tight- aggressive style of play is very common, and well-deservedly popular.
Players who choose this tactic of the game play only certain types of combinations – namely, cards from the top of the hierarchy. In the presence of a strong hand – a worthwhile combination, they make rather bold, even aggressive decisions and go all-in in the fight for the pot.
Experts advise using a tight game in the early stages of a poker tournament to confuse opponents a little, and then allow yourself to larger bets, raises and bluffs with medium-strength cards.

Tight-passive style – characteristics

The most cautious variant of tight play is the tight-passive style. But despite the fact that such players are very careful, it is not so easy to beat them at the table. Let’s find out their basic principles of behavior.
Rule number one for such players is to enter the hand only if there is a maximum combination, if there is none – fold.
With good, strong enough cards, it’s still best to avoid raising – it’s better to check or call bets.
According to professionals, such a game betrays an inexperienced player who at this stage lacks practice and courage to play more freely. They are afraid to lose their stack, overdo it with caution, and still forfeit a check and are out of the game. Opponents get rid of them by resorting to a classic bluff.
The tight-passive style is especially useless over long distances. Since the drawing of only the strongest combinations, it may simply not come, because they get the participant very rarely. Such a participant is likely to be quickly read by rivals.
We draw simple conclusions – tight poker players are people who avoid risky hands as much as possible. They behave with restraint, participating in the drawing of only very strong combinations. Often beginners choose this style and lose.
But professionals try to be unpredictable for opponents and use a tight game when it is needed. Any style of behavior or strategy in poker can help a player win, but none of them is recommended to be used as a template or on a permanent basis. You should not be read – this is the main rule.
But you can only become an optimal player by studying the material and practicing the game. There is no tip or secret that will ensure you win. Try to choose a style of play that is close to your character, but add other styles as necessary.

How to play a tight passive opponent properly

If we can find these players at the table so easily, then they are easy to beat? Actually it is not. Usually the fight against such opponents and the aggressive style against them ends in defeat. It is better not to play against such opponents and wait for other players to knock them out of the hand. A passive player will wait for the best hand and enter the fight only with a confident victory.
It is recommended to sit to the right of a tight passive opponent. Such a player will rarely raise bets. And we can use the position and try to steal the blind. Such a player can’t be knocked out with active and quick actions. It is better to slowly take part of the pot from a passive opponent and not bluff. Reading the hand of such an opponent is quite simple. The player will only go with the best hand. Therefore, when he calls or bets, it is recommended to immediately fold the middle hand.

Pros and cons of a tight style



Relative simplicity. Almost everyone can master this style – it is understandable and easy to perform: we bet with strong combinations, send weak ones to the pass.

Winning big pots. As you know, the better the combination, the more chips you can win with it. Careful players aim to make a very strong hand and win a huge pot with it.

Effective bluff. The stakes of players who play exceptionally strong cards command respect. This stereotype can be used and bluffed from time to time, relying on the created image in the poker community.

A small number of difficult situations. It is extremely rare that a strong tight player finds himself in an ambiguous situation. After all, he discards trash hands in advance, but as a rule, there are no difficulties with good ones.


Readability. It’s safe to say that when a tight player suddenly starts betting big, he has a strong hand. In this situation, experienced players simply fold without paying him the nut hand.

Bluff vulnerability. Players who understand the faces of opponents who play in a neat style begin to put pressure on them, betting all the time and often forcing them out of the draw.

Not very good style applicability for tournament games. Blinds increase quite quickly in tournaments, so you need to play in a more relaxed manner in order to count on good prizes. A player who uses an exclusively tight style throughout the tournament runs the risk of being “eaten” by forced bets.

Gemma Heathcote
Gemma Heathcote.

Gemma Heathcote – Editor @ Superlenny

Gemma is the Editor of SuperLenny.com, where her main responsibility outside of editing and writing content is overseeing everything published online. She’s also ensures the day to day operations of SuperLenny are kept running smoothly, including keeping Josh and Matt in check!