Arts & Entertainment

Daniel Negreanu on Poker: Exploiting Weak-Tight Players

Whether you’re in a No Limit Hold'em tournament or just playing in a home game with friends, invariably you'll come across a player that falls under the category of weak-tight.

Let’s define the terms.

Weak: This describes how an opponent plays his hands — more so after the flop then before it. A weak player will miss too many bets and give away too many free cards. He’s essentially afraid of his own shadow.
Tight: This describes the player's hand selection before the flop. A tight player is extremely conservative before the flop, only playing premium hands in good position

A weak-tight player should be aggressively targeted, especially in tournaments when you need to pick up small pots to help build your stack.

Being a weak-tight player is the absolute worst approach you can have if you plan to win a tournament with thousands, or even hundreds of players. To win large field tourneys, it's imperative that you’re active in lots of pots. That helps build a monster stack.

Simply waiting for premium hands, and then playing them weakly after the flop, is a recipe for disaster. You won't get enough quality hands to survive the escalating blinds. Also, if you play them poorly after the flop you won't win enough chips to make a run in the tournament.

Mind you, if your goal is to simply last for a long time in a tournament, with little chance to win, but a decent shot to squeak into the money, a weak-tight approach will help you accomplish that goal.

Consider yourself lucky when you find yourself in a tournament against weak-tight players. Play your cards properly, or more importantly, their cards properly, and you’ll be able to steal your way to a big stack with very little risk.

Focus on these four tips to best exploit weak-tight players.

Relentlessly attack them pre-flop and on the flop. This type of opponent is always waiting for quality hands. Since we know he'll seldom get one, put the pedal to the metal and raise his blinds like a bank robber in the middle of the day.

Don’t pay off a weak-tight player. The last thing you ever want to do is lose a big pot to one of these guys. They always have a strong hand. Even if you find yourself with a king-high flush, be aware; if he raises you, he likely has the only hand that beats you — an ace-high flush.

Play small pots. The best way to exploit the weak-tight player is to control the pot size. Unless you have the absolute nuts, attack small pots while avoiding the big ones. Weak-tight players are happy to allow you to chop away at small pots. They’re hoping that you’ll eventually lose a monster pot to them when they show you the stones.

Shut down on the turn if you get action. If you aren't able to win the pot by the flop, you probably need to abort mission. If your opponent calls all the way to the turn, there’s no doubt that he has a strong hand. It's going to be a rare occurrence when he starts with a premium hand and then catches a good flop. But when he does, don't get stubborn and try to take this pot away from him. You’ll have ample opportunities to chop away at smaller pots later on with very little risk.

To beat a weak-tight player you need to understand his game plan. He won’t bluff, he’ll only play premium hands, and he’ll avoid marginal situations. Understanding that mental approach makes it very easy to beat him, regardless of what cards you’re actually dealt.

Remember, you're not playing your cards, you're playing his.

Visit for information about Daniel Negreanu’s new book, Hold’em Wisdom for All Players.


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