It seems that most books that teach low limit hold’em assume you will play against a lot of loose players, with a lot of people seeing flops. While this loose style of play still remains at the micro-limits, it’s common nowadays to see very tight tables even at.50/1 and 1/2.
You’ll know you’re at one table when it’s common for only a few people to see the flop , or if one pre-flop raise causes everyone to fold. So what can you do to deal with these super tight tables? Here are some tips:
Find a new table. There may be looser ones at exactly the same level. Find the percentage of players seeing the flop. Most online cardrooms provide this information in addition to the name and table level, along with the average pot size. For example, if a 10 person table only has %30 players see the flop, that means for some hands only 2 or 3 people continue with their hand. If you can, look for a table with at least 40%-50% or more.
If you can’t find a loose table, consider changing the time of day that you play. For example, in the middle of the day, you will find it easier to see professional players who are not in good competition. Some times it’s good to play around 7:00 when many from the US are coming back from work, or after midnight, when most of Europe starts playing. Also consider trying a few different sites, as some sites tend to have fishier players.
If none of the above techniques work and you are stuck at a tight table, you will have to change your play a bit. First, drawing hands like AXS is not good, because they want to have multiple players to pay you when you hit straight or flush. So you might want to consider dropping these hands even in later positions, as they are simply unprofitable. On the other hand, big cards like KJ or AT are better because it’s easier to win against fewer people with only top pairs.
Another important aspect of playing steal the blinds. You’ll often have everyone folding for you even in late position, so consider raising when they usually don’t, especially if you know the blinds don’t protect their hands. You may also have people who try to steal from you when you are blind. Know when to fold and when to fight them back. If you’re facing someone you thought didn’t exist, reconsider raising them and then betting the flop. Often times this is enough to scare them off. But make sure to avoid dominated hands like K7o or A3o because even if you hit on the flop you might be drawing dead.