Passive poker can be good poker sometimes

The old saying about passive poker being bad poker does not always apply. Quite often it is not in your best interests as a poker player to be aggressive. What you have to remember is that you always have several options during a no-limit Texas Holdem poker game and this means that you have several speeds almost like driving a car. Betting and raising is your fast gear, folding is your brake for stopping and calling is a slow gear. So remember that you have three gears in poker but you sometimes need to call down and be passive. I was having a conversation a while back with an experienced limit player who said that based on his PokerTracker stats that a six handed limit player with basic metrics of 31/12 could not possibly be a good player.

I then asked him what sample size he was talking about and he said that he had played around a hundred hands with this player. In my mind this sample size is nowhere near big enough. While it is true that this player seems too passive with only a 12% PFR percentage, the small sample size can be horribly misleading. I have sat in limit games at six max on new sites and used PokerTracker and I have had similar statistics over a very small sample size. In fact I can think of one such instance a while ago where I sat in a $3-$6 limit game and a maniac was either trying to blow some money off or dominate the table.

It is always the case during these times that you get dealt either junk or mediocre hands but you cannot wait for good hands in a six handed game which was actually five handed in this instance because there was a player missing from the table. So I decided that I wasn’t going to let this player force me into high variance play and that sooner or later he would leave. One hand went as follows, I was in the big blind with J-9 and it was folded to them in the cut-off and they raised as usual. Everyone folded and I call getting 3 ½ -1 pot odds. The flop came 10-9-4 rainbow and I lead out for $3 and they raise. Now there is no way that I am folding my hand and when the 2c comes on the turn then I know that I am committed to spending $12 to see the river.

I won the pot against some rag hand that I cannot recall after another overcard came on the river but the point was that I played this hand passively and decided to do so pre-flop and also pre-hand. I won several pots in this way and I managed to win something like $40 in a game that was very volatile. But I was also playing four tables at once and so I did not want to tilt on other tables due to one maniac on one of them. So passive play and passive lines are very valuable in poker but remember that passive lines and passive players are two different things entirely.