position can also affect the chances of a bluff’s
success. In most games with tough players, I've found
it easier to bluff if I'm first than if I'm second
and my opponent has checked. There are two reasons
for this. If my opponent has checked to me, he knows
he has shown weakness with his check, and when I bet,
he suspects I am trying to take advantage of his weakness.
So he's likely to call with any kind of hand. And,
if he has a really bad hand, he might very well have
tried to bluff himself. Since he checked instead,
the chances are good he has a calling hand, and when
I bet out on a bluff, he's likely to call, even if
he thinks he's a small underdog. So in situations
on the end where your hand can't win by checking but
where you have reason to believe your opponent may
be weak, a bluff in first position is more likely
to succeed than a bluff in second position.
various points in the remainder, you'll see me refer
to your opponents with adjectives such as tight, passive,
tricky, loose, aggressive, straightforward, weak,
tenuous, rational, or irrational. These adjectives
have some specific operational meanings that help
categorize your opponents.
It's typical in poker to categorize players along
two independent dimensions: tight/loose and aggressive/passive.
Tight players don't play many hands, loose players
play a lot of hands. Aggressive players bet and raise
a lot, passive players seldom bet or raise.
Generally, passive is considered bad, as is loose.
Tight is considered good, as is aggressive. Of course,
even the good traits of tight and aggressive can be
carried to extremes. A player who plays way too tight
is called a rock and a player who plays way too aggressive
is called a maniac.
But there are problems with this traditional, two-dimensional
view of poker players. One such problem was recently
discussed on the Internet newsgroup rec. gambling.
poker. The problem comes up in various situations,
one being when interpreting the actions of a passive
player. The traditional view is that bets by a passive
player should be respected-the idea being that when
a player who doesn't bet often wakes up and starts
betting, he must have found himself with a good hand.
But Abdul Jalib, the Internet nick of a Las Vegas
poker pro who frequently contributes to these discussions,
pointed out that this is just not true. You cou