To become a good poker player you need to be able to change your game, to combat the different styles of play you come up against at the poker tables. You have to be able to do this because a certain style you adopt may end up being very profitable against a small group of players but then, may see you lose money against another set of players. This is why you need to find different styles to earn money against all types of player.
In simple terms if you can learn how to read every poker player you come up against you will in time consistently earn money off of all of them. The big question is how do you know what style your opponent is playing?
When you sit at a table, before you take an active part in the table you need to sit and observe the players you are going up against. What sort of style are they playing? Is the table full of loose players? Or is the table full of tight players only looking to put money into the pot when they pick up good hands. One way to help you determine the general style of the table is to check the table stats when you select your table from the poker room lobby.
The way to make money at a poker table is to normally adopt the opposite style the players currently sitting at the table. So for example if the majority of the players are showing a tight style of play it would be best to raise a lot of hands and bully your opponents of the pot. Whereas, if the table is full of loose players, you want to be waiting for a premium hand , and then letting them bet into you.
Adjusting for the tight game
Many people think that there is not as much money to be made out of tight players as there is loose players. This is simply not the case as a tight player is just as exploitable. All tight players by nature normally just wait for premium hands before they consider raising or even staying in a pot, thus meaning they will fold far more hands than they play, this is where you yield your profit from.
You can sit and take small pots from a tight player all day long, just be cautious however, if your are too aggressive in your style of play a good player will allow you to keep betting into them and then once they hit a good hand will carry on in the hand with you meaning that you could potentially lose a lot of chips to them.
You should only be making a raise when you have speculative hands or better. This means that you could still hit a good flop if you get a caller. You need to apply proper pot odds to your raises as well. It is good to steal pots all day long but if you do not do this with an understanding and knowledge you will end up being a losing player.
As a word of caution if you come up against a good player they will not readily crumble under a raise. A few years ago a new breed of players took the poker scene by storm. These players played a very tight yet aggressive style of play, these players tend to have a good understanding of position and other aspects of the game that allows them to switch happily from a tight to a loose style of play even in the same hand. You want to try and avoid these players as they will watch you play and then devise a strategy that will maximise the amount of money they can make off of you.