Texture does change in poker

Texture does change in poker

November 14, 2017 3:00 AM


By definition, texture is the feel, appearance, or consistency of a surface or a substance. At the poker table, the game texture can be loose (many players staying to see the flop) or tight (few players seeing the flop, and most folding their hands post-flop); it can be aggressive (considerable raising) or the opposite, passive (players often calling bets, rarely raising).

Starting out, you are directed to a table that has been in action for a while, and has acquired its game texture. You can easily observe this texture after several hands of play, or while waiting to be dealt in. Look for it.

Most serious poker players have a distinct preference for game texture. The majority favor a loose-passive game: lots of opponents staying to see the flop, with little if any raising. That makes it much easier (less costly) to enter the hand; and likely there will be a decent size pot to win. Of course, we’re all anxious to see the flop. With those three flop cards face-up on the board plus your two hole cards, you see over 70% of your final hand. (ore than just idle curiosity, it is useful information before investing more of your precious chips.

I, too, much prefer a loose-passive game texture over a tight one. In tight games, the pots are bound to be quite small as few pay to see the flop; and even fewer stay in the pot after the flop. With such a game texture, the cost to play (house rake, Bad-Beat-Jackpot drop, and dealer tip) makes it almost impossible to go home a significant winner. So, a very tight game texture is not recommended.

Playing at that table, you will often observe game texture changes. After playing at that loose-passive game for a while, a new player comes to your table, and he changes the texture to aggressive. Planning to do a lot of raising, he often buys in for considerably more chips than the other players. (I believe men are more likely to play aggressively than women.)

He starts out by raising quite often, both before and after the flop. The more aggressive players seem to raise with abandon – sometimes even before peeking at their hole cards.

Those are the “maniacs” who substantially change the game texture. Expect lots of raising and re-raising. In the long run, they are wont to lose their chips as their opponents adjust to their aggressive play.

Meanwhile, that aggressive game texture makes it much more costly to stay to see the flop. It also makes the game more like a matter of sheer luck – not the way you should play your hands. If you find yourself playing against a maniac, it is best to be seated just to his left, so he bets before your turn to act. Then, you can fold marginal (borderline) starting hands.

Watch for a seat to become available in that position and move into it. Or else, play very cautiously against him. You might take a break from the game. One benefit: When you are dealt a made hand (A-A, K-K, Q-Q), it is wise to thin the field. Re-raising after the maniac’s raise will help by making it a double-bet for opponents behind you – more likely to fold. (Every cloud has a silver lining.)

Should a second maniac join your table, it would be wise to seek a table change. Alternatively, take a break from the table. Get some fresh air and think about changes you will make.

In summary, it is important to adjust how you play your hands depending on the game texture. Be aware when the texture changes – as it will during the session, and make appropriate alterations in your strategies and tactics. Avoid tables that are extremely tight and be aware of how to best play games when the texture turns to aggressive.