All The Aces Daily Poker Column

The Tight Poker Player

How to play winning poker against a tight player

The tight poker player is someone you need to play with caution. Fortunately he's relatively easy to spot offline and online. He knows what good pre-flop hands need to be so he will not see the flop very much and will fold a lot.

The tight player will only pursue premium hands from the flop down to the river and will only call for a flush draw or an open-ended straight. If he reaches the showdown, eight times out of ten he'll be the winner. The true tight player defines his game by only playing the cards. He won't call down a bluffer or be a bluffer. He's Mister Straight. Any pre-flop action from this guy wil be based on solid high pairs, possibly down to an Ace-King or Ace-Queen. Unlikely he'll move on anything else.

In a loose game, a good tight poker player will tend to mop up the pots. He waits until he has a good hand and then bets it all the way down to the river. He knows the odds and will have an immediate edge over loose players who don't pay full attention. Obviously this habitual form of play provides it's own handicap for those sharp enough to spot it early on.

A little while ago, I dealt with the characteristics of the maniac. The maniac is the ideal antidote for a tight player as he will be prepared to see a small pair or even Ace-high down to the river, killing off tight play.


Betting is your front line tactic as tight players will fold against you if they don't have the actual goods. Allowing tight players to draw is asking for trouble as they will almost certainly have suited cards or other nasty surprises. A bet will give you the intel you need as it will draw out a call from a tight player with a strong hand and a raise if he's about to crush you. Watch this particularly if he's in a late position at the table. The brave option against all tight poker players if you're holding a pair is to raise. They'll likely fold. If not, at least you'll know you're in for a scrap.