I doubt that there are many schoolkids that haven’t heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race”. That classic line was originally talking about a foot race, but we’ve been using it to compare methodical versus aggressive techniques ever since. Poker is a great place to try and establish the biggest differences between the two styles, although it’s hard to say if one really triumphs over the other since players have found success both by playing slowly and cautiously as well as fast and hard. It really comes down to a personal preference issue, one that you can only figure out for yourself through lots of hours of table time and inner reflection.
A poker player that would fit the description of the hare would be any player that is willing to get their money in the middle in a lot of pots and utilise aggression as their primary method of attack. Someone such as Tom Dwan would be a great example, as he is often looked at as a fearless player that won’t hesitate to put in half a million dollars on a bluff if he feels that it’s the right play. Lose control of this style of play though, and you’ll drop chips quickly since techniques from this category can be easily exploited by a cunning and patient tortoise.
You may think that a tight, timid player would be the best way to describe a tortoise poker player, but the best tight players know how to pick their spots and aren’t timid at all. They’re simply looking for the right opportunity to present itself, while hares are actively trying to create their own opportunities. Phil Hellmuth definitely qualifies as a tortoise, as he loves to sit back and strike when the moment is right, which despite his reputation as an extremely emotional player at the table he has managed to rack up more WSOP bracelets than anyone else throughout history. He may be the ultimate example of the tortoise actually, as while many aggressive online pros are looking to collection bracelets early in their career and claim the leaderboard ladder, Hellmuth has stayed the course slowly and steadily, adding victories to his legacy consistently for over two decades.