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Are you a tight poker player? Do you have trouble running bluffs for all your chips or playing mediocre hands out of position? You’re not alone. There are many tight players out there and some do manage to find a way to be winning players.

However, there are times where playing a tight style of poker will consistently set you up for failure. In the following examples, if you’re playing tight, you’re doing it wrong.

Six-Max and Four-Max Games

It is often incorrect to play tight when you are playing in a six-handed or smaller table. These games require that you open up your range as hand value change. Hands that were mediocre become strong and hands that were only playable in late position or on the button now become raising hands from middle and late position.

If you’re unable to open up your hand ranges and play a looser style of poker, you will never be able to compete competently in Six-Max or Four-Max games.

Against Other Tight Players

A table full of tight poker players is what is often referred to as a “bad game.”  In cash games, a table full of tight players often will result in a bunch of frustrated players and a game that breaks quickly.

When you are confronted with a table of tight players, it is time to open up your game and become the loose cannon. Time to turn up the aggression, raise much more frequently and force your players to either play back at you or continuously fold you their chips.

At the Bubble of a Poker Tournament

While your instinct may be to sit on your chips at the bubble of a poker tournament, that is not the optimal strategy if you plan on winning the event. At the bubble, you will have a ton of players looking to squeak into the money and this is a great time to collect a lot of free money at the table.

Open up your game and start raising a lot more. In many cases, the players will just get out of your way in hopes of getting to the money. If they play back, you know they have a hand and can either get out of their way or give them action in the hopes of catching lucky and busting them.

At a Loose Table

While it is often correct to play tighter against a loose cannon player, what if you are at a table where there are often multiple players seeing a flop. These loose tables will often feature family pots with four or more players ever hand. A lot of times, these pots are unraised or raised a small amount where you still have odds to call.

If it is cheap to get into the pot, you need to expand you range of hands and take a few shots at these family pots. When you play them sparingly, the rewards can be huge when you catch a big hand against weaker holdings of players willing to give you their chips.

When You’re The Short Stack

When you’re the short stack at the poker table, this is often not the correct time to rock up. Depending on the blinds and how short stacked you are, you may be able to wait a few hands, but often you want to either find a reasonable holding or attack other short stacks at the table.

You will have a limited window of opportunity to get yourself out of the danger zone before you drop to a point where you lose fold equity against bigger stacks and better players. This is a time where you should act quickly or risk hitting the rail.

Playing for Jackpot Hands

Many poker rooms will offer some type of jackpot hand for their cash game players. Some are as simple as high hand of the hour or high hand of the day. Others offer a bad beat jackpot where you get paid off handsomely if your monster hand gets beat by a better hand. Often this hand is aces-full of tens or better.

While it is true that you may have a shot of being involved in one of these hands playing somewhat snug, you may want to expand your holdings to other hands that have a chance to become a monster. Small pairs, suited connected, big suited aces and large suited cards are all great hands to try and play to catch a monster.

For jackpot hands such as high hand of the day, you’re probably looking for a small payday of up to $500. Most will pay around $200. However, the bad beat jackpots often go into six figures and that amount is divided amongst the whole table. Half goes to the loser, 25% to the winner and the other 25% is split amongst the other players at the table.

Hitting a monster and losing will get you paid but the winner walks away with a nice prize as well. A bad beat jackpot of $100,000 will pay $25,000 to a winner. That’s worth taking a few extra flyers with jackpot capable hands yes?

Playing on National TV

Ever notice how most games on national TV are somewhat loose or you see players making a lot of loose plays? That’s by design. Often, TV producers want looser players on their shows as it makes for good TV. If you’re a tighter player, chances are that you will not receive an invite to come back.

Playing on national TV is more about exposure than trying to win or lose money. Yes, it is always good to win but if your face is out there for advertisers, online poker sites and other businesses to see, it may open doors that will earn you a lot more than you will ever lose by playing a loose style on TV.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.

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