Learn Poker Lingo #3: Types of Plays

by Cole Paganelli | January 9, 2020 |

If you’re a poker lover, you probably heard someone describing their play as aggressive or passive. They would often discuss tight and loose plays, and sometimes even combine these.

In this article, we will take a look at these four types of plays as they are a very common discussion subject among poker players. 

Ultimately, every player should know what these are in order to improve their overall poker skills.


An aggressive player is usually making aggressive bets. They would often raise bets, check-raise and sometimes even go all-in.

Just like any other type of poker play, aggression could either be a conscious choice made by players as the most optimal strategy or it could be used unwillingly by inexperienced poker players who might be tilting.

Aggression is useful against players who are not sure about their bets and can be used as to pull off bluffs. 


Passive play is the exact opposite of aggression. Passive players will often fold or check bets made by other players. In other words, they might not be willing to raise bets on their hands very often.

Just like aggression, passive play can be either conscious or unconscious. Players who choose to play passively usually have a higher goal in mind. They usually want to lure opponents into thinking that they are really passive and strike when they least expect.

However, this strategy is often not a strategy, as many inexperienced players use it without thinking too much about it. They are often considered prey for experienced aggressive players who could manipulate them.


Aggressive and passive plays refer to the number of chips/money we are willing to bet. They are one of the two main categories, the other one being tight/loose.

Many newcomers often mix being tight with being passive or being loose with being aggressive. In reality, these two categories are just loosely connected.

A tight player is the one who doesn’t play many hands and often folds. Therefore, unless they have really good cards, they would rather choose to fold and wait for the opportunity.

That being said, players can be both tight and aggressive, meaning they would bet aggressively on the hands they choose to play.


Finally, a loose player will almost always proceed with the betting round despite the fact that the odds are not that good for them to start with. Just like a tight approach, the loose one could be combined with aggressive or passive play.

Which one is the best to choose? It all depends on the situation on the table. Professional poker players know how to analyze their opponents and adopt the best possible strategy in order to maximize their success.

As a poker player, you will have to detect betting patterns of other players and study their actions in order to know which path to take. Once you find an ideal approach, always be prepared to analyze players all over again and change your strategy if necessary.

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