Saturday, December 16, 2006

Most Bloggers Are Weak-Tight, WTF?

Since nobody decided to jump into this one, I will take a stab. First off, I totally respect the play of the likes of Lucko, Matt Matros, and Fuel, so I hope they do not take any of this wrong. But I was kind of offended by the CC Weak-Tight article. I heard lucko make this comment in Vegas (I think in CCs presence), and it may have been the reason for the article. Calling someone weak at a poker table, or just calling someone a weak poker player is a pretty major insult IMO. I immediately asked lucko what he meant by "weak" and he said something along the lines of they are easy to push off hands. My problem with the whole weak-tight accusation, is that it appears to lump a bunch of bloggers who play with various styles into a single category. Additionally, it uses the derogatory term "weak", without doing a very good job of defining exactly what is meant by "weak".

Most people use the PokerTracker methodology for categorizing players. There is no "weak" category in PokerTracker. There is "tight" which is defined as voluntarily seeing less then 20% of flops. There is also passive or aggressive categories for pre and post flop play. Aggressive preflop is defined as raising more than 5% of your hands preflop. Aggressive post flop is having a post-flop "aggression factor" higher than 2. Post flop aggression is defined as (Bet%+Raise%)/Call%. If you do not fall into the aggressive category you are considered passive. My play is classified as Tight-Aggressive-Aggressive. I really don't think they were calling me out as weak personally, but if someone thinks I am "weak" I would appreciate you going through my PokerTracker statistics and pointing out where (just go back a couple of posts and take a look).

So my guess is they mean "Tight-Passive" (passive postflop) when they say "Weak-Tight". If this is way wrong please correct me, but if that is what they mean why use a derogatory term like "weak"? So lets separate the two terms. Tight to me is right. Go to any poker site, and sort by % seeing the flop. Guess what? The tightest play is at the highest levels, the loosest is at the lowest. Assuming that the best players play the higher levels, then the best players are "tight". Tight is right, and it's a virtue. No one should be ashamed of playing tight.

So is "Tight-Passive" ever correct? It is pretty decent strategy at the lower limits, where ABC poker gets the money. If you are playing against a bunch of players who you can't push off of top/middle pair, or draws, your best bet is betting hard your good hands and folding the marginal ones, and calling with draws when you have the odds. Since these are the levels that a good portion of bloggers play at, they are playing close to ideal strategy. I really do not see this leaving a ton of money on the table. In fact, my guess is if lucko, Matt, and fuel were to take there standard hyper-aggressive game to a .25/.50 NL cash game, they would probably not be able to beat it, without making huge adjustments towards ABC poker. At the lower levels you gain significant (enough) advantage by being a lot tighter than most of your opponents preflop, and not getting too tricky postflop.

So what about the higher levels? The play tightens up significantly, so your preflop tightness advantage is now gone. You have a mix of good players, and tight-passive type players who have recently moved up. This is where post flop play makes a huge difference, and the guys are absolutely correct in saying they can eat-up the tight-passive players at these levels. ABC poker post flop is not good enough any more, and it's much more of a mental game where deception is key. So I completely agree that the style of play they recommend is correct as you move up to the mid to high stakes levels.

So far I have only talked about Cash Games. I don't think the analysis is very easy for MTTs, where it's all about adjusting to dynamic factors like stack sizes, blind levels, number of players at the table.... The good MTT players tend to throw their typical styles out the window late in tourneys, and become a short stack maniac, a short handed expert, or whatever is required to keep chipping up, and not blinding out.

Lucko made the comment "part of why I have done so well in a lot of blogger tournaments are because players do play weak-tight". Dude, you do well in all tournaments. You run right over bloggers, donks, noobs, pros, everyone. You are that good. Please don't single us bloggers out specifically on this, it is misleading.

Now a quote from Fuel55 "They last longer in tourneys than average donks (compare the bust rate after 1 hour in a blogger tourney to a $20 tourney from the general population and you see the bloggers are 25% bust vs. 50% in the norm) However this is more indicative of weak tight than smart play". I think I need to disagree with this. When the bust rate is 1/2 of what it would normally be, to me that's a tough tournament. There just are not any easy chips to pick up. Who does not prefer tournaments with high bust rates, where chips are easy to accumulate? Just about everyone I have read recommends ABC poker early in tournaments. There are a couple of reasons for this. The blinds are too small to fight over, and it crafts a tight passive image that you can exploit later when the blinds count for something. There is a small number of people who don't play this way, but it is a minority opinion. I can't really understand why it is perceived as negative when most bloggers play the correct early MTT strategy.

Lastly, I would like to turn things back on the accusers. From Matt "There are gradations of weak/tight of course, but the main features are an unwillingness to call bets/raises without very big hands". So if you are unwilling to call bets/raises without very big hands you are "weak". Have you ever tried playing back at one of these hyper-aggressive type players. They are typically raising slim, and are relying on you to fold. When you pop them back, they typically fold their questionable hands. By there own definition this is "weak". So if you get a chance, put one of these guys to the test, and find out who the "weak" one is.

As I said in the beginning, I totally respect these guys play, and it is extremely appropriate for the levels that they play at. Just be careful if you are a lower limit player. The types of adjustments they recommend like dropping ABC poker, and raising slim more often, may be detrimental to your bankroll. If you want to take a shot at the higher limits, then listen to everything these guys have to say. You will be learning from the best. If not, then don't let someone bully you into changing your style by calling you out as "weak".


At 12:21 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I thought it was an excellent article and made a lot of good points. I think it was a little rude in the context but I kinda think CC was trying to be funny.

I think that weak-tight is a common poker term and it does relate to being able to walk over people.. people who check/fold a lot and never bet without a made hand. I am not sure I would agree most bloggers are weak tight.. I can name 3 who are not, Matt, Fuel and Sucko. I can actually name a hell of a lot more but that is besides the point.

I think you can go to the opposite and wrong direction here too.. where you get too aggressive and are easy to trap. I think the article had ALOT of good points to it and I was willing to ignore any implied insult to it in order to learn. I do not think those guys for the most part meant to insult people.

At 10:53 AM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

There is no doubt that CC's article (and our collective comments) was a little aggressive but it was meant that way to generate some thought/feedback. As Waffles says, there was no intention to insult.

You make a good point on game styles vs. game stakes to which I would elaborate the following: you make the MOST money when your game is the MOST different from the rest of the people at the table. I.e., tight passive can be immensely profitable at $1/2NL and super LAG is profitable at $10/20NL. Adapting to your surroundings is the hallmark of good poker play. The best can be anything they need to be.

Overall I think preflop LAG and postflop TAG (always in position) is the best game to play. It keeps your opponents off guard, it enables you to see 71% of your hand more often than not and allows you to fold small pots while waiting to hammer a monster.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

i seriously doubt any of them meant to insult anybody. CC overheard Lucko's comment and interviewed them to dig a little deeper into the subject.

there are players who will auto-fold to aggression without a made hand. as Fuel mentioned, position is a HUGE factor. IMO some players don't exploit this advantage as much as they should. instead of reraising a c-bet, they will call or fold. hoping to make a hand. if they hit, then they're comfortable betting or raising.

it's better to reraise on draws than it is to call. it disquises your holdings and when you hit, you're more likely to get paid off. you can also steal pots this way if your opponent has whiffed the board. this is a very basic strategy. but, weak players don't play their hands this way. they're more comfortable calling 'til they hit.

i think it's a good idea for every player to look at their own play honestly and not get defensive about an article.

when i see a player fold KK preflop to a shorty's button raise, that IMO is a bad fold. he just put a bullseye on his forehead. i'm raising that player in late position, every chance i get.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Blinders said...

There were numerous solid points in the article, and like I said I respect the play and opinions of all involved with it. I guess my main problem was the use of the term "weak", as well as trying to tag that term to the majority of bloggers. If "Tight-Passive" would have been used instead, I doubt I would have been bothered at all. I am proud to be part of the poker blogger community, and would hate to see us get involved in a bunch of silly name calling. The article was very thought provoking, and in that sense it was a very good article. I just wanted to put down my 2 cents on the subject

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Blinders said...


If you want to tag me as weak based on a single hand, then go for it. It would be more informative if you made a comment based on my stats over thousands of hands. As you know my post flop agression is 2x yours weakling

At 1:57 PM, Blogger smokkee said...

everyone knows i'm weak/tight.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger cracknaces said...

I believe I am the polar opposite of weak tight. I consider myself loose/dumb!

At 7:28 AM, Blogger Guin said...

Blinders you have to look at why your aggression is over 2 to understand the term "weak". TAGs are weak by their nature because folding actually *increases* your aggression factor. So when you raise you are likely to cbet and a player like smokkee is going to put you to the test by reraising you large. You fold. That is what is being referred to as weak.

Please look back at your pokertracker hands where you raised and whiffed and cbet.... then look at the subset where you were reraised and my guess is that you folded 90%+ of those hands. If you find something different then I think that you don't fall under the category that is defined in that article. Hoy's comment of folding AQo preflop to a reraise is a typical tight/weak situation... not a bad thing but one where you are more focused on being involved in hands where you are the aggressor instead of the caller.

As you know I love to LAG it up in blogger events with my lovely 36 and 66 based raises to mess with the tight aggro players. Lucky for me that when most want to play back at me I have a hand.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger lucko said...

Wow, when will I learn to keep my drunk mouth shut. Sorry man. I did not mean to offend anyone. I e-mailed with CC to try to clear the air not make things worse. Guess I f'ed that up to, lol.

I do stand by my words though. I was watching one mookie final table and there was about 7 people at the table had 6 big blinds or less. I watch people fold through their blinds over and over again when they are way short. I see people sitting on 10 BB's raise 3 times the BB and then fold to a RR or whiff the flop and fold. I saw someone open-fold their small blind sitting on about 5 big blinds. You yourself basically blinded out of the first big game. I am not sure what label you want to put on it. Weak-tight may not be the right term, but it certainly isn't strong play to me.

If saying this makes me a dick, well I guess I am a dick. I hope people don't take it that way though, it is not how it is meant. I actually considered posting about it about a month or two ago and didn't because of how it would be taken. Babbling drunk in Vegas, I wasn't as smart though.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Great discussion and liked the definition of various types of play. Especially liked the part where Lucko finally realizes he is a d***. Personally I wouldn't get caught up on the word, "weak" as it probably is just referring to "passive."

At 9:41 AM, Blogger smokkee said...

i think guin makes a good point there. making a c-bet then, auto-folding to aggression might make your stats look good up until the flop. what % of the time are you seeing the turn/river and going to showdown. i suspect it's very low. this might be indicitive of tight play to the extreme.

i like what Matros had to say as well.

"Players learn how to beat the game for a small profit playing weak-tight poker, which is the lowest variance way to play; and since they've already found a way to beat the game, they see no reason to increase their risk. What weak-tight grinders are missing is that, no matter what your previous results are, it always makes sense to play in such a manner that offers you the highest EV, assuming you're properly bankrolled for the game to begin with"

playing aggressively on the flop and later streets is +EV.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Blinders said...


I don't think you are a dick. I guess my point is, that when you run over a tourney because you outclass the field by far, don't say the reason was because the other players were bad or weak. The reason is simply that your MTT game is so much better then the typical blogger (regardless of the style they employ). It's a little meanspirited, to try to put the blame on others who are trying thier best, but simply do not have the skill set yet to complete with someone on your level. If all of this was meant to help us weakies to become better poker players (and I am sure this was your point), then it came across a little wrong. Possibly because of the way CC worded the article, but can you blame him? Attention grabbing titles pull in the readers.

I don't disagree at all about the poor bubble play. It is not a blogger thing, it's an inexperience thing for any poker player trying to learn how to play MTTs better. Until you can come to this realization that folding to the money is -EV, you will not become better at MTTs. I can get better at this, but I kind of like how everyone perceives me to be a fold into the money type player.

I am a longtime reader of yours, and it was great meeting you, and playing with you in Vegas. There are tons of things that I can learn from you, so beleive me I listen to what you have to say even if I claim to be offended.

At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think thats a well written post Blinders and I agree with much of what you touched on.

Tournaments are a different beast but in my experience of playing $2/5 I found I need to open my game up somewhat and also need to adjust my style of play to the table. Also I find it very important to choose the pots you do play and try to control their sizes by strength of hand.

One thing I do know is that the guys that play super-aggressive may win a bunch of pots and push people off hands but they have huge swings and mostly they wind up losing, as they usually get trapped for their stacks sooner or later.

Another thing is there is a huge difference between cash games and MTTs, lots of times MTTers have trouble adjusting to cash and vice versa.

Any style can be profitable, although some seem to work better than others.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger lucko said...

"If all of this was meant to help us weakies to become better poker players (and I am sure this was your point), then it came across a little wrong."

It was definitely meant to be helpful and not harmful. Giving advice to people I play against is if anything, harmful to myself.

I can understand it making people a little put off, but hopefully in the end they can see it how it was meant.

One reason why I have never really been interested in teaching or training is because I tend to be a little to direct. I don't always have the tact I should. I could have said the same things but in a more positive way.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Falstaff said...

Heh - we need to get CC to archive this comment thread as a communal discussion/response to the article. I actually think the intent was to insult, just a little, to spark discussion. You usually don't get honest discussion unless you insult someone, and the fact that Blinders was insulted sparked this great discussion.

BTW - According to Pokertracker, I'm weak/loose (Loose Agressive/Passive), but to watch me play the WPBT event you certainly woulda thought I was weak-tight (stay off my BB!), but that's how my game flowed that day. I'm certainly no great shakes at tourneys, but I'm really just along for the read.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Joe Speaker said...

Here's where I think the logical disconnect exists in the "Bloggers are Weak-Tight" argument. It's a "post hoc ergo hoc" fallacy.

"BECAUSE only 25% of a blogger field typically busts in the first hour, THEN they must be weak tight."

I think a far more apt description is that bloggers, unlike donks in a large field MTT, won't go broke early by overplaying marginal hands. While this fact may or may not make us suceptible to "moves" early in the tourney, it doesn't indicate a widespread leak.

I'd take it even further to note that in blogger tourneys, the total number of chips in play is miniscule compared to the nightly guaranteed tourneys, so even if you go into the second hour with T1500, you're not far from a) par or b) the chip leader, unlike an MTT where you'd likely be the short stack at your table and less than half the average. So bloggers with knowledge of playing a "short" stack have the patience to wait for the hand that will get them back in it. I see horrendous short stack play on a nightly basis in MTTs that I rarely see in blogger events.

I agree with a lot of the points in the article. One is not going to win a lot of tourneys if they only play and bet made hands, if they don't open-steal frequently once the binds and antes kick in. I just don't think the application of the philosophy in regard to Blogger tourneys is correct. Which I can say without fear of reprisal 'cause nobody would EVER accuse me of being weak-tight.


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