Playing Tight Poker
Soldiers keep themselves fighting fit by training hard during peacetimes. Folding is the equivalent concept in poker. By folding mediocre hands, we ensure that we enter the battle fighting fit with strong starting hands. Conversely, if you are impatient, you increases your vulnerability significantly. Identify the loose players at the table for they are usually the ones playing with weaker starting hands and are thus more vulnerable.
"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy." - Sun Tzu
The beginner may think that KJ is a good hand but do you know that in a heads up match, KJ loses to KQ 3 out of 4 times and KQ loses to AK 3 out of 4 times? The situation worsens when you hit the K on the flop with KJ when your opponent holds KQ. In that situation, you will lose 84% of the time and very likely lose even more money since you hit your top pair and likely bet out!
Loose aggressive players will tell you that its not the cards but the aggressive betting that wins the pot. I don't doubt their claims since there are many weak/tight and loose/passive players out there. However, I will also tell you that is why they lose their hard won cash to the tight aggressive players. So what if they win a few pots with their KJ through their bluffs? All that money will end up in your pocket when they bump into your AK.
The difficult part with playing tight is the discipline it takes. It's not much fun sitting there folding while watching others take down the pot. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that your AK is going to always win. Sometimes you just don't hit the flop and have to fold and after a few of those, there's the sick feeling that you simply can't win. Well, I'll usually remind myself that military training isn't fun either but in Sun Tzu's days, that's what separates the victorious army from the defeated one.
Playing tight not only applies preflop but after the flop as well. There are some players who thinks that by playing tight, they can just charge all the way to the river holding AK or AQ even if the flop missed them completely. Usually, they end up donking all theirs chips to a calling station who has a bottom pair. That is not tight/aggressive play. I call that tight but stupid.
For more advanced players who sense that the table is very loose, they can always relax their starting hands requirements accordingly. Ideally, you should adjust your starting hand requirement based on the players who enter the hand. Otherwise, I will advice the average players to just stick to playing tight. Tight is right.