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Why Passive Players Are Dangerous

It turns out that passive poker players can be dangerous foes. Who would have guessed? The very name “passive” suggests otherwise, that they will meekly allow you to do as you please with no resistance. That is not completely true, and if you approach playing a passive foe, especially heads up, you could be in for a bumpy ride if you don’t play them correctly.

Passive players play passively; that might sound like a wise crack, but it really holds the kernel of the truth as to why they can be difficult to win against. Not necessarily to beat, such as in a tournament, but you can find yourself loosing plenty of cash if you play foolishly against them.

What is it about them that makes these passive poker players so tricky? Because they like to call, which sounds great when you have a great hand to play. If, however, you have a mediocre hand, and you are reading the signals, are at the turn or the river and sense weakness and bet, you might loose more often than you think. This is especially true in a limit game, where you really can’t scare off players with massive bets.

The problem lies in the player’s love to stay in a hand, with hands you might have thrown away at the first bet. If you are in the big blind in a showdown and check to the flop, and you don’t catch anything, you will likely be able to check all the way to the river, because the real passive player likes checking even more than he likes calling.

Then what happens? You started with K4, the flop was T28, the turn a 5 and the river a K. Wow, you caught an overpair on the river, your opponent checked all the way, so you should bet, right? In this case he checked along with his wired Eights (so he had a set) or even a TK, so he has two pair on the river. Passive players will check and call with strong hands, so if you don’t want to throw away money on the river, you had best be sure you have an even stronger one.

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