While definitely not the most abundant poker player type, you'll still encounter your fair share of weak-tights, or 'Mice’, at the tables. Generally speaking, Mice aren't the worst players out there, but they're far from perfect.
Meet the Mice
Sure, they've probably read a book or two on poker technique, and have a pretty steady understanding of the fundamental strategies, but they don't usually feel comfortable playing for real money.
This said, they'll do decently in tournaments, often cashing but never winning. When it comes to cash games, their true nature really shows. In fact, they're the closest thing to a push over you'll find in this game.
Let's take a look at their stats, to get a better idea of the numbers that are indicative of Mice:
The VPIP and PFR will vary from mouse to mouse, but generally, they should have at least decent hand selection so their VPIP will be around 20%, in both full-ring and short-handed games. If their VPIP is much bigger than this, they'd be more of a Fish.
Their PFR, as mentioned, will also vary to as low as 2% for ultra weak-tights who only raise premium, to 4%-6% for those who are a little more comfortable playing the game and will therefore raise a slightly wider range.
What will always be consistent among MICE is their low aggression of under 2%. This means you can expect to see a lot of checking and calling, rather than betting and raising. These guys are called ‘scared money’ for a reason, and scared & aggressive just don't mix.
Almost every type of poker player has a strength or two - even the ever-slippery and floundering Fish. Mice are no exception.
The strengths of weak-tights lies in their pre-flop hand selection. They're very good at two-card poker. Mice do a great job of only playing solid hands before the flop to keep the post-flop decisions a lot easier.
While their ranges will be pretty easy to read, pre-flop is not the place to exploit these players. Their issues come out as soon as the flop does, and that's when we should make our move.
Mice have far more weaknesses than strengths. Let's look into them:
Weak-tights are always looking for reasons to fold. They're afraid to play for big money, so as the bets get bigger on later streets, the weak-tights get more and more uncomfortable. This is why we want to put a ton of pressure on these guys by betting when the opportunity is presented to us.
The next issue is that they miss out on a ton of value. They're extremely passive, even with strong hands - and they only raise the nuts. These means they lose money value betting on their speculative calls pre-flop and slowly bleed off long-term equity.
Because they're so passive, weak-tights also allow us to draw out way to cheaply at long-shots like backdoor and gut-shot draws. And because weak-tights only raise the nuts, we won't have much trouble figuring out where we stand in the hand against them.
Their fit/fold style is wanting. Weak-tights don’t do a good job of balancing out their hands, so not they're bluffing in some spots where they'd usually have a hand or mixing up their play. They're not good at the art of deflection, and they're going to fold a high percent of the time if they miss a board. This means continuation bets are a huge money maker against this type of player, since they're going to miss the flop 2/3 of the time.
When they do hit, they call more often than raise, allowing us to control the pot size and set our drawing odds. This fit or fold style is fine for low-stakes, where they're just beginners, but with semi-pros in the fray, it's nothing short of a great recipe for a bust-up.
They also call too much pre-flop. Most Mice don't even realize that this is a weakness. Just because they have a solid pre-flop game in terms of which hands they play, they fail to raise in appropriate spots.
They call at lot more than they should. Sure, they'll always have good hands going into the flop, but that failure to raise a good percentage of their hands means they'll allow their opponents to see cheap flops with great implied odds with what they'd consider garbage hands. Then the Mice wonder why they can never win a big pot with top pair or top kicker and keep running into junky two-pairs. The reason is simple: they let us get there.
Mice are a great opponent type to speculate against, especially when they are limping a strong range. The pay off potential is there, because remember: they're not very good at playing post-flop and of course, the price is right.
Weak-tight are prone to tilt. I've seen it time after time: a weak-tight sits in a session with this great pre-flop game playing ready to go. A couple regulars make plays on him or show him a bluff, and he gets totally thrown off his rocker. Suddenly this guy just picks this terrible place to triple barrel bluff and he's out.
Weak tights are generally really easy to throw of their game, and while it differs from player to player, they all have a breaking point. For some, they get 3-bet too many times, for others, their stack just got too short (like 70 BB from the initial 100) and they're forced to make a move.
The list goes on.
What's important to remember is that you want to keep your eye on your weak-tight opponents. If you can notice when they shift their play before anyone else, you can land a great score. But don't force it. You don't want to try to make plays on them when they're still playing that initial, solid game. Wait for them to crack.
Now that you've got their strengths and weaknesses down, let's look at what adjustments to make against Mice to optimize your game.
Pummel at their passiveness. I'm talking isolating limps, implementing squeeze plays and calling in position. Remember, these guys are always looking for a reason to fold - and in the rare instances where they do raise pre-flop, it's a good idea to flat-call in position with quite a wide range and try to bust them.
The more pressure we can apply to this type of opponent, the sooner he'll feel out of his zone, and the sooner he'll crack. As long as we're making our plays from position, we're automatically being a lot smarter about when we put pressure on these guys.
Just remember, until that breaking point, attacking any weakness he shows is going to pick you up a ton of pots since he'll be playing scared money.
When we're thinking about flop play, we want to semi-bluff everything that has equity when we get to the flop heads-up against this type of player. First off, our fold equity is always sky-high against Mice and stabbing at pots will show a lot of expectation.
The beauty of this opponent type is we don't have to worry about getting check-raised. Since we never get raised, we can bet all our draws. Not only are we setting the price, we're also giving our opponent the chance to fold - and it's a chance they'll often take. AND IF THEY DO CHECK-RAISE you on the flop, they've probably got the nuts, so go ahead and fold since you're implied odds are through the roof.
Now, it's important to note that Mice won't always fold on the flop. Some even have a 'call one time policy'. Still, they'll always fear aggression. This means you need to keep your foot on the gas pedal. Continue to bluff on scare cards, fire multiple barrels. Until they show they're going to fight back, be relentless. Keep pounding them. When anything shows up on the board (overcards, draw completing cards), keep firing.
Again, if they check-raise after the flop, respect that. Don't think top pair, top kicker, or even two pair is going to work against them in a showdown.
Finally, you want to respect their aggression. Mice are rarely aggressive, so when they are it's best to fold to counter aggression. If they raise before the flop, they probably have a premium hand and you should try to mine with jackpot type hands - but don't go to war unless you flop at least two pair.
And I mean low to pair here: don't be calling their opens with hands like JT suited because you could flop two pair and they could flop a set or a straight. You want to play with low cards that hit on the board where they didn't connect, or didn't improve their overpair.
If they check-raise the flop, they're basically saying they can beat top pair and you should play accordingly. If they check-raise the turn or river, they're saying they can beat whatever you've got. SO unless you're holding at least the second nuts, and a weak-tight check-raises you on the turn or river, trust me, you're going to want to get the hell out of there and wait for a better spot.
With Mice, you're not going to be getting big donations unless they've reached their breaking point. However, you will get a nice flow of profit since they are easy to chip away at and score small pots.
Don't give them action when they show interest in a pot, just keep applying pressure every time they don't. Be ready for when they crack, and you'll get yourself a nice big stack.
Set your traps, make your adjustments, and enjoy the steady stream of income that comes with mastering the Mice.
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