Limit Hold 'em Strategy - Playing in Loose/Aggressive
Loose/Aggressive poker games can be
the most fun to play, but also the most frustrating.
If you have a chance to sit in one of these types
of games, you should jump at it. But what exactly
do we mean by Loose/Aggressive, and how can we profit
from playing in this type of game?
There are two dimensions along which
poker playing styles are measured. On one dimension
is Loose vs Tight. Looser players tend to play more
pots, and are willing to commit poker
chips to see a flop without the strongest
hands. Tight players like to wait for premium or near
premium hands before getting involved.
The other dimension is Passive vs.
Aggressive. Passive players like to commit as few
chips to the pot as possible, checking and calling
their hands. Aggressive players like to put chips
in and pressure their opponents, betting and raising
to force opponents to pay to see more cards.
Most players fall somewhere in the
middle of these dimensions, with tendencies towards
one side or the other. Certain players, and certain
games, take on a tenor that favor one or more of these
dimensions. The loose aggressive player is also called
a "maniac" and with good reason. These players put
chips into the pot with reckless abandon, playing
a wide variety of hands and usually staying in all
the way to the river with little regard to signs indicating
they should slow down. While this can be a little
intimidating, especially to the new player, these
can be among the most profitable games in poker, and
you should not pass up an opportunity to sit in one
of these games.
One of the most frustrating things
about these games is that these players will often
catch cards on you. When you bet all the way with
double-Aces and lose to someone with 4, 3 when the
flop was 9, 8, 4 and a 3 came on the river, it is
very easy to go "on tilt" (play badly for emotional
reasons). You will be tempted to loosen your own starting
requirements just to get into another pot with these
players so you can punish them for their careless
play. This is the worst thing you can do. Your main
edge comes from the fact that you are entering pots
with much stronger hands than they typically are,
so the pot is always laying you the best odds when
you win. Playing too many hands makes you just another
loose player, and negates your advantage.
These are games where it is generally
useless to try and bluff, as someone will always call
you. In contrast, these games provide good opportunities
to value bet for the same reason. You generally want
to handle these games by betting your good hands and
letting your opponents call you down with draws or
second best hands. Although you will take some bad
beats in this game, remain resolute and patient. Poker
is a game of odds and probabilities, and ultimately
the odds will catch up with these loose players. You
want to be in there playing your best game when this
happens. When it does, your patience will be rewarded
with an ever growing stack of chips.
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