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It is difficult to winkle out a very tight player, who folds almost every hand on principle. Here's an example of how I managed it the other night in a low-limit Hold 'em game. The monetary gain was small, but the satisfaction quotient very high.

Sitting on the big blind, I found 2-4 off-suit. My opponent, who plays like a tortoise which never sticks its neck out, had opened in sixth position, indicating he had a hand, probably ace-x. The flop came down 44 24 &2. I checked my full house, obviously. But the tortoise, knowing that I play almost as tight as him, checked along.

The turn card was a 47. I checked again, and again he followed. The river card was a queen of spades, which meant a possible flush.

44 24 &2 - 47 - 4Q

This was my last opportunity to bet my hand, but I checked one final time, trying to look worried. This finally induced the tortoise to bet an heroic pounds 5. I raised pounds 5, representing a flush. And the tortoise, having poked his head out so far, had the temerity (knowing me, knowing you) to get his feet wet, too. He re-raised with a bet of pounds 25, taking me for a low flush. I socked it right back, and he felt obliged to call me down. He didn't have ace-x of spades in the hole after all, but 2-2, giving him a lower full house than my 4s full.

A couple of other players at the table began ribbing him. "How could you re-raise?" they smirked. "That was money down the drain!" The tortoise blinked, muttered something about calling for value, and retreated into his shell. We had both been trying the same tactic.

In fact, a tight image is generally an effective, winning style for Hold 'em. If players think an opponent is so tight he will only play hands like aces and kings, they are inclined to fold when he raises, especially if there is an ace on the flop. If they do call, the tight player can put them on a hand. The tortoise would have done better to bet on the flop, and when I called, pull his head right back in.

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