Loose Poker Players

Loose Playing Style - LAG - Loose Aggressive

by Jesse Knight


Loose Poker Player
Loose - A style of play in which a player plays a high percentage of hands, frequently calls bets or raises, and often initiates betting or raising.

Poker play can be described as being somewhere on a spectrum which runs from loose to tight. Players typically adopt a style of play that skews toward one end of the spectrum or the other. Loose play is characterized by a lot of betting and calling, and includes an inclination to play a high percentage of hands and call a high percentage of wagers. Tight play, on the other hand, is characterized by a lot of conservative and risk adverse play, and includes an inclination to muck, when the question of who has the best hand seems to be in doubt.

Poker play can also be described as being on another spectrum which runs from passive to aggressive. Passive play includes an inclination to check rather than bet, to call rather than raise, and to bluff infrequently, if at all. Aggressive play is just the opposite. It includes an inclination to bet rather than check, to raise rather than call, and to bluff and semi-bluff with regularity.

These two spectra, the loose-tight spectrum and the passive aggressive spectrum, are complementary. By this I mean that they are both used together, synergistically, to bring a heightened understanding of the nature of someone’s play. So a person’s play could be characterized as loose-passive (LP), loose-aggressive (LAG) tight-passive (TP), or tight-aggressive (TAG). These are basically the four different ways to approach the game, and your style of play is defined by which strategy you choose.

You should know that all playing styles are not created equal, and that the style that you adopt will have a dramatic impact on your results. You should also realize that style should not be static. You will need to adjust your play, and that means adjusting your positioning on both spectra, based upon the style of your opponents play. The first point that I want to make, is that most professionals and many of the world’s top players have all adopted strategies which may vary some, but can generally be defined as tight-aggressive. There are also a few successful players who can be described as loose-aggressive, especially by those on the tighter end of the spectrum. Very few, if any, passive players have long term success with their playing styles. There may be a few tight-passive grinders who can squeeze out a few pennies, but virtually all of them would fare better if they would get more aggressive in the right spots. The bottom line is that aggression wins, and tight aggressive play frequently dominates.

It is a sign of excellent play, to be able to make appropriate adjustments to your playing style, based upon the play of your opponents. If you sense that players are playing too tight, you should adjust your play by raising more and stealing more. If you sense that they are being too aggressive, you set more traps for them, and so on. Frequently, but not always, it makes sense to adjust in the opposite direction of the spectrum from where your opponents are coming from. The one thing that you want to be careful about is that you do not try to counter extreme aggression with extreme passivity. There are times when you can make extra bets by checking and letting your opponent bluff off his stack. You should make this play from time to time, but don’t let it become your style of play. If you do, you become a calling station, which is not a successful playing style to adopt. It is better to counter extreme aggression with targeted aggression. When someone is speeding, you set big traps, and you pound them when you know you have the best of it. You respond to their aggression with an equal measure of your own, but you do it less recklessly than they do. Remember, the line between good, aggressive play and speeding can be pretty thin at times. If you loosen up your game too much, or if you become too aggressive with the wrong hands, it can destroy your bottom line, because you will end up getting in too much money with the worst of it. Speeders rarely have long term success. Neither do nits. If you want to have success over the long run, you should adopt a style somewhere in between (that is suitable for you) and you should be prepared to make adjustments to it when it is appropriate to do so.

Usage: Loose Cannon, Play Looser, Loosen Up Your Play, Loose Call

See also LAG - Loose Aggressive Playing Style

Previous Poker Term: Lock
Next Poker Term: Lowball



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