How to Exploit Passive Players in Live Poker

Nathan Bennett
Nathan Bennett
3 Min Read

Poker theory is fascinating, whether you’re playing online poker or live poker in a tournament. There is so much psychology at play. When it comes to playing against passive players – those who hardly ever bluff – you might just have hit the jackpot. Read on to find out more about what it means to play passively and how to exploit passive poker players. These tips will also teach you how to stop playing passively in poker tournaments yourself. 

Passive players – what are they all about?

When playing live or online poker for real money, it’s vital to assess the psychological strategies used by your fellow players. To decide whether a poker strategy is passive or aggressive, you need to analyze the risk tolerance of the player.

A passive or defensive poker player is scared of losing and avoids confrontation. This poker strategy involves a lot of checking and calling. Passive poker players hardly ever bluff and they don’t play very imaginatively. Frankly, they are a dream to play against because their actions demonstrate the strength of their holdings, and an astute poker player can then place bets accordingly.

On the other hand, an aggressive or offensive player does not shy away from risk. This kind of player has a tendency to raise rather than call. This poker strategy revolves around betting and raising. 

Passive and aggressive poker playing can also be subdivided into a tight or loose poker playing style. A tight style indicates that players are only playing their best hands. Tight players often fold when they have a weak hand. A loose player has no such qualms. This player engages with a wide variety of hands and there’s a low incidence of folding. 

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Tagging players

It’s important to analyze each player carefully at a live tournament or even when you’re playing poker online. Here are some useful tips:

  • Is the player calling and checking frequently? If so, mark that player as passive.
  • Is the player betting and raising more often than not? If so, it’s most likely an aggressive player.
  • Is your opponent playing every hand? If yes, you’re dealing with a loose player. 
  • If your opponent hardly plays a hand and folds frequently, you have a tight player in your midst. 

Now that each opponent has been labeled, here are some winning strategies on how to exploit passive poker players. 

Winning against the tight passive player


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