Playing Passive or Aggressive Poker?

Working together with the idea of playing passive or to play aggressive can be tough for even some of the best players in the world to grasp. The reason you should play passive is if a table is playing hyper aggressive. The reason to play aggressive is just the opposite, if a table is playing very passive. In both scenarios you will have the upper hand if you take a couple of things in to account. The things are that you have to be able to define your table and the players sitting at your table. If you can effectively define some of the players at your table, you will be able to know what they should be capable of doing at the table. Poker is a guessing game at all times, and you should be able to figure out a decent range of hands for each player at the table. Once you can figure out the hand ranges for certain players, you can go from there to determine whether to play passive or aggressive.

In scenario one you are sitting in a very passive cash game, where there is little to no action. You have been sitting for 2-3 hours and for whatever reason there are no players willingly jumping into pots before the flop and raising or three betting. This type of game may come around after a long day of poker for some regulars or if there is a bunch of broke poker players sitting in a game. When you see broke players sitting and playing, the game will almost never be very good because they are hanging on to their last dollars, and will not play aggressive ever. Players who are virtually broke will fold constantly before the flop, and then look to eventually just shove all in on the flop and take down small pots. You can exploit this by becoming the table captain and raise them every time regardless of if you have a hand or not. If you do happen to wake up with a hand or two that is a great situation because players who were playing passively often times just stick it all in when they get a big pair. If you happen to crack that pair the bad passive player will bemoan their bad luck and go home. Often times you will find that the passive and bad players are most likely the broke players. This happens a lot of the time because they use to play too aggressive or gambled too much and blew through money like it was nothing. These players are great to take one big pot off of.

In the second scenario you are the passive player. Often times you do not want to be the passive poker player mainly because of the table image you acquire, but the reason you want to be labeled as passive in scenario two is because you will get value for hands by calling. You get value for hands by calling by letting the aggressive player at the table hang themselves. If you can do that and call a bet on the flop, call a bet on the turn and shove the river, you have accomplished your goal for the hand. You have gotten the maximum value for your hand and also you have not given up chips to an aggressive player. Often times it is just a matter of time before a super aggressive player gets picked off. This will happen very frequently and all the time if you can wait for a hand. In poker tournaments as opposed to cash games you can be that passive player, sit and wait for hours, then finally trap the aggressive player into a big pot. When you are doing your job at a poker table correctly you are making money, and to make money you need to have a mixed bag of tricks. If you sit and do the same thing all the time you will never make the most money you can per session. If you adjust to your table then you will have continued success throughout your poker career.
How to exploit a table captain (overly aggressive player)