MCU poker tip: Loose vs. tight opponents

You should expect to make more money against too-loose players in the long run; but, in the short run, you’re more certain to win something against too-tight opponents.

The reason

Competing against loose opponent is the key to poker profit. Fine. But it also means your results will be more volatile. Your pots will be larger, on average, but there will be more players competing to win them. That means you should expect misfortune on your path to victory — more big losses, more big wins, but more success eventually.

Against tight opponents who are typically predictable, pots are smaller, but outcomes are more certain. You won’t engage them as often when they enter pots first. And when you do engage, you’ll do so less frequently and with an advantage. This means there will be smaller average pots, but you’ll win more often. Your overall profit will be less, but you won’t have as many dramatic swings in fortune.

Therefore…

So, you should play against loose opponents to maximize profit. But you’ll need a larger bankroll for comfort. Against tighter opponents, you have more precise control over your destiny, but you won’t earn as much. — MC

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.

3 thoughts on “MCU poker tip: Loose vs. tight opponents”

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  1. but is loose on left and tight on right, then flips to

    loose on right and tight on left – and then every combination

  2. Mike, I really enjoy reading your tips from the past. Unlike a lot of today’s players, I believe that the “old school” players are just as good (and, perhaps, even more solid) than those of the new generation. It’s always a lot of fun to revisit the articles. Thanks for keeping them alive. Oh, on a side note. I’ve had a lot of fun playing on the same table at Downstream with your significant other. EXCEPT…Diane accepted my offer to buy her a cup of coffee and then promptly reraised me! I tried to cancel the coffee order, but it was too late. Was that a technique you taught her to throw me off my game!? (just kiddin’)

  3. Five card draw was all the was played in the San Diego card rooms in the late 60’s. One or two tables were at most these candy store type establishments. I personally played at “Harrison’s” which was located at 47th and University avenue. There was a retired San Diego police officer who made bundles and got involved with a situation a losing “hard rock” (tightest) player in all of San Diego.
    After they “raise-reraise” they get all the money in before the draw, “Jack the Hack” discards a single card and says: “Gimme one”.
    The story is Ralph has been dealt: AAA77. Ralph discards the two 7’s and says: “gimme two”. Ralph catches the fourth ace and cracks the four 10’s which Jack the Hack was dealt. That’s an example of what you can do to a guy who’s “too tight”.

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