Playing against a table full of tight players can be an excruciating experience.
If no one is willing to play big pots then it can be very hard to win anything significant. It’s also just plain boring if everyone is folding all the time.
Playing too tight is a weakness, however, and it can be exploited. There are some strategies you can utilize to extract the most value possible from players who fold a little too often or only bet with the best possible hand.
Even though playing a tight table will never be as exciting as playing against a table of maniacs it can be one of the most best situations to consistently rake in a reasonable amount of cash.
We’ll break down some of the best ways to tackle overly-tight players below.
Open it Up
There’s a concept in poker strategy that basically amounts do doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
In other words if your opponent is raising all the time then you should tighten up and attempt to stack them with a good hand. Conversely if your opponent is too tight then you should open a few more pots.
This strategy doesn’t work 100% of the time but there is some logic to it.
If your opponents are folding nine out of 10 hands then you can definitely afford to open a few more pots with marginal hands.
You should also consider keeping the pressure on with what’s called a “continuation bet” on the flop. The continuation bet, also known as a C-bet, is just another bet, this time on the flop and it frequently garners folds from opponents who don’t want to risk any more on the hand trying to hit the turn or the river.
C-bets are useful against tight players because they are going to miss the flop most of the time and really tight players will still fold even if they get a small piece of the flop like a small pair.
There is a time, however, when you want to get out of the way of overly tight players and we’ll get to that below.
You should always give a certain amount of respect to a super tight player when they decide to raise.
You can call some of their bets and attempt to outflop them but you’ve got to be aware that there’s a very good chance they have a premium pocket pair like 10-10 or better or a big drawing hand like Ace-King or Ace-Queen.
If an Sportsbook bet was enough to give you pause then a raise or check-raise by a tight player should send you to DEFCON-5.
Super tight players hardly ever raise with bad hands and you should expect that you’re facing top-pair or better.
In those hands you should just get out of the way and move on to the next hand. There are plenty of talented poker players who have essentially hung themselves by trying to outplay tight players.
Look to Crack Their Big Hand
Tight players are loath to give up big pots but there’s one way that you can actually extract value from them.
It’s going to have to be a set up where their big hand gets cracked by an unexpected lesser pair. They simply aren’t going to lose a huge pot with middle pair to your top pair. Instead you’ve got to be a little more ambitious and look for something like a three-of-a-kind or a disguised straight.
In that three-of-kind scenario you’re specifically going to be looking for a “set” which means three-of-a-kind with a pocket pair. Many players incorporate a strategy called “set-mining” where they will play a large number of small or medium pairs against tight players who make an initial bet.
You’ll only hit a set roughly 1 out of 8 times but when you do, so long as your opponent has a big stack, there’s a decent chance that you’ll take their entire stack if they have something pocket aces or pocket kings and you play your cards right.
The reason set-mining works so well is there’s no indication that you have a powerful hand. The board can be almost anything and there might be a set lurking in the background.
The same basic strategy works for hitting straights as well. This time around you’ll probably want to play suited connectors like 6-7, 7-8 or 9-10 or even one-gapers like 5-7, 7-9 or 6-8 to disguise your hand even more.
Straights can be particularly deceptive when they come through on the turn or the river where your opponent might not even notice them.
Just remember all the information above and hopefully the next time you have to battle a table full of tight players won’t seem like quite as taunting a task.