What is ‘Tight-Aggressive’?
‘Tight-aggressive’ describes a poker player who is playing few hands, but who is betting strongly on those hands and who is not afraid to raise or re-raise on the hands they do play. This is a preferred playing style for many of the professional poker players who are successful in tournaments, as they know which hands are worth playing and reject the rest.
In poker, ‘tight’ means a player who is being very selective about the hands they play. While all players are dealt cards in every round and some might be forced to bet through a blind or ante, it is possible to leave the game without betting anything at all. Players who do not like the look of the hand they hold will often fold early and wait for a better opener. The opposite term is ‘loose’, meaning a player who takes on almost all of the hands they are dealt.
‘Aggressive’ poker play is when a player is willing to bet high, and when they make a lot of raises rather than calling or checking. It is often used to scare other players away from the pot, though sometimes it is used to lure players into a betting war, boosting the pot in the process.
A ‘tight-aggressive’ player is combining the two techniques. They avoid all but the best hands, and when they do choose to play they are not afraid to make strong bets on that hand. By rejecting many hands, the player is in danger of losing a little to the antes or blinds, but if they bet high and encourage others to do the same, they can steal a large pot – or win it fairly – using the hand they have selected to play with.