tight passive players: how to crack the rock

Many newbie Hold'em players, or players who just haven't really studied the game as they should, try to be a rock--but, instead, they actually play tight passive poker. The tight passive player, when spotted by a more astute player (like you), is easy pickins.


A tight passive player is a one-trick pony Hold'em player who has learned just enough about the game to understand the wisdom of being highly selective about what hands he chooses to see the flop with, but doesn't understand very much at all beyond that. You can rest assured that if he's in to see the flop, he probably has at least a Top 25 hand...but once he sees the flop, his play breaks down and he becomes well nigh clueless.


When you notice that you have an opponent who only sees the flop perhaps 25% of the time and folds pre-flop the rest of the time, but then seems timid, constantly and habitually checks and calls, hardly ever bets or raises, and either loses or only wins small money just about every single time he stays in, he's a tight passive player. You'll find that even if these players hit their cards on the flop, they still will almost never bet or raise, and they may even fold when they're holding what would have been the winning hand. These players won't do this just once in a while; they'll do this kind of thing repeatedly, over and over.

So, again, the tight passive player:

  • Folds very often pre-flop.
  • Constantly checks or calls on the flop.
  • Habitually folds when he has the winning hand.
  • Thinks he's a rock, but really he's a clod of dirt (as a poker player, of course).


Once you know you have a tight passive player at the table, you can take him for some good money throughout the rest of the day or evening. The first thing to remember is that you just have to raise against him on the flop and he'll either call or fold. Depending on other circumstances, if he calls re-raise him, if he checks do a check raise against him. Then he is almost guaranteed to fold, and yet he stayed in long enough to sweeten your pot for you. Mmmwwaaahahaha!

The time when a tight passive player may actually take some risk and raise the pot is if they got a high pocket pair to start the game. So, if they do raise pre-flop, re-raise them at least once (again, depending on other circumstances). It's very easy to put them on a hand if they raise, so you know almost exactly what you're up against and you can take some risks to sweeten the pot for yourself. Even if they don't raise, if they don't fold pre-flop you know they have a strong starting hand--a pocket pair, suited connector cards, two high cards, etc--and you know generally what to look for in the flop texture.

So, the bottom line with these guys is use an --aggressive poker strategy. You'll get them to throw you some decent money (over and over again) and yet you'll intimidate them into folding to you (over and over again).

Here's a special technique you can use to rake the money in from these guys: if they check down to you, and you are holding a weak hand, bluff them. You should not bluff them any other time, because they have just enough learning that they can spot that and, besides, that means they are holding something stronger than you. But yeah, if they check to you, and you decided to play it like Phil Ivey and you're seeing what you can do with 2-7, bluff them with a raise pre-flop. They won't understand what you're up to under those circumstances.

Remember, the guy who plays tight passive poker is not a rock. Take his bankroll and teach him a lesson!

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