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NO LIMIT PLAYING STYLES TO AVOID



No - Limit Playing Styles To Avoid
Oct 25, 2005  
2005, Jason Kirk  

Yesterday I examined three styles of no-limit play that are often very successful in no-limit hold'em - The Loose-Aggressive player, the Tight-Aggressive player, and the Trapper. The common trait that all of these players share is a willingness to be selectively aggressive when it comes to taking down big pots - even the Loose-Aggressive player knows when to back off of a hand or switch gears and slow down for a while. Logic says that if these are the playing styles that are most profitable to adopt, styles that fail to properly incorporate aggression would be those you would most want to avoid. Here is an overview of some playing styles you'll want to stay away from when playing no-limit hold'em.

The Rock

Requirements:

The Rock is the tightest of all the players who fail to be properly aggressive. He places value only on the biggest pairs - A-A, K-K, and Q-Q. Any lesser hand that may still be of value, such as A-K or suited connectors - won't make it onto his list of hands to play. Occasionally he may play smaller pairs than Q-Q, but he may refuse to raise with them because of the fear that a bigger pair may be out there.

Strengths:

The handful of starting cards that the Rock is willing to play are all statistically likely to win against the vast majority of other starting hands. If he gets callers when he enters a hand, chances are he'll take down the pot.

Weaknesses:

Because the Rock plays far too few hands, he's very easy to read. When he finally does get involved in a pot with callers, chances are it will be a small pot that won't make up for the blinds he's been posting while folding for the last hour straight. When he does play less-than-premium pairs on occasion, he will often be drawn out because he fails to limit the field with a raise. The only way the Rock makes money is by playing against other players who simply don't pay attention to the fact that he plays a slim percentage of the hands he's dealt.

The Bluffer

Requirements:

The Bluffer's starting hand requirements could be the same as any other player type, because he often appears at first glance to be a different kind of player. What he's really looking for is an opportunity to display how clever he is by knocking an opponent off a hand while holding a hand that has completely missed the board. He'll do this at every opportunity he can find.

Strengths:

When he takes advantage of the rules in no-limit by using his full stack as a weapon he can often appear intimidating. He can often run over a table of timid opponents by making large bets that they are afraid to call.

Weaknesses:

The Bluffer is often overconfident in his poker-playing skills - his selective memory will erase the times when he's been caught, and focus only on the times his bluffs have been successful. Because he has to use the all-in move so frequently, the Bluffer puts his entire stack in jeopardy every time he thinks he has a chance to show the table how clever he is. He will go broke far more often than other players because of this. Even a moderately experienced player will be a very dangerous opponent for him, because they will usually hold solid cards if they go far in a hand against him and thus have a relatively good chance of picking off his bluffs.

The Calling Station

Requirements:

The calling station plays a wide range of hands without regard to position or the number of opponents already in the pot. Any two face cards, and two suited cards, and any pair - regardless of table circumstances - constitute a playable starting hand for the Calling Station.

Strengths:

It's very difficult to tell when the Calling Station has a real hand because his actions are the same regardless of the table situation - he calls every bet, every time.

Weaknesses:

The Calling Station's biggest weakness is a refusal to raise his opponents. Even with a monster hand like A-A he will often just limp into a multi-way pot, allowing his opponents almost infinite odds to draw out on him. Even when the Calling Station does catch a big hand like a straight or a flush, he will rarely raise for value. When he does, many opponents will recognize that they should fold. His other major weakness is a refusal to fold. If he catches any part of a flop - and often times even if he doesn't - he will call bets all the way down to the river, oblivious to how many ways he may be beaten.


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