Liebert - Techniques
By Kathy Liebert
In my last article, I
introduced the idea that there are different styles that can be
effective at the poker table. In this article, I will discuss
the different styles that women can use to be successful poker
In general, an aggressive
style is more effective at the poker table than a passive one.
Aggressive style means playing your hands strongly by betting
and raising. A passive style means you do more checking and
calling. The reasons an aggressive style is generally more
effective is because it gives you more ways to win. If you bet
or raise with a hand, it is more likely your opponents will
throw their hands away. This serves two purposes. First, a
player may throw away a hand that doesn't have you beat at the
moment but could beat you on a future card. Second, an opponent
may actually throw away a hand that has you beat currently.
By playing more
aggressively, you give yourself more chances to win the pot.
Even among aggressive players, there are different styles. Some
aggressive opponents play many hands and bet and raise with very
weak cards. While other players are much more selective about
their starting hands but once involved play them stronger by
betting and raising when they are in the hand. There are also
different styles among passive players. Some passive players
will check and call with weak hands while other passive players
will check and call only with above average cards. Many good
poker players use a style referred to as selectively aggressive.
This style is often very effective. A selectively aggressive
style means you generally play above average starting hands but
play them strongly. This is the style used by most poker
professionals. They are selective about the hands they play, but
once involved in the pot they will not meekly check and call but
rather bet and raise with their hand.
In general, women tend to
play a more passive style then men. Maybe just by the nature of
their gender, men are more aggressive. Women can use this to
their advantage in several ways. First of all, if a woman holds
a very strong hand, she may want to sometimes play it passively
to allow the overly aggressive male to put money in the pot. By
sometimes checking and calling you can induce people with weak
hands to bet your hand for you. By playing passively, you
deceive them into thinking you hold a weak holding and they may
bet anticipating you will fold your hand. While I do not
recommend using this approach as your main style, it can be
effective in some circumstances.
Often if you are playing
with loose players (players who will call with weak hands) you
will do better by choosing the aggressive style. One of the keys
to being successful at poker is being able to change styles.
This is often referred to as changing gears. You will have to
determine which approach is best given the type of players you
are up against. So if you are playing against players who will
bluff often, you may choose to play passively. If you are
playing against players who will only bet if they have good
hands, you may want to bet your own hand.
I believe many poker
players underestimate women players. Many men seem to play women
as if they were open books. Often if a woman checks the man will
assume she is weak and bet. If a woman bets or raises they will
often give her credit for having a good hand. If a woman
re-raises they may assume she holds the best possible hand and
fold even their stronger holdings.
I would suggest to most
women who play regularly with men to think about how they
perceive you and play deceptively. Obviously, not all men think
or play alike just as not all women play alike. Often, players
will tell you their views or give away information about how
they think and play. If you want to have good results at the
poker table, watch how people play and listen to what they say.
By paying attention to how your opponents play you will have a
better chance of determining what style to use against them. It
is likely you will have a general tendency to play a style that
suits your personality. You may be a conservative type who is
more comfortable with a more passive style or you may have
aggressive tendencies. Be aware of what your tendencies are and
make an effort to change gears and experiment with the different
styles. By purposely changing your style sometimes, you will be
harder for your opponents to read and you will become a better