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Combating Loose-Aggressive players

Bloggers RSS / Matthew Pitt / 24 March 2009 / 1

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One of the most difficult and infuriating players you will face in both the live arena and online is one who plays a Loose-Aggressive (LAG) style.

LAG's have been around as long as poker has, with the like of Doyle Brunson and Stu Unger being advocates of the style. More recently, thanks to internet poker, increased television coverage and the brilliant "hole-cam" device, more and more players are adopting a LAG style of play.

Many players try, and fail badly, at being loose-aggressive, instead they play like maniacs, raising any two cards regardless of the action or dynamics of the table. A true LAG lives and dies by their reads at the table and will always put maximum pressure on their opponents at the right times.

The main advantage of playing LAG is the fact you will be paid off handsomely when you have big hands. This happens because either your opponents will not give you credit for a strong hand if you have been playing many hands aggressively but also because they will start to play back at you with inferior hands, thinking that you are trying to steal the pot once again.

On the other side of the coin, loose-aggressive players will suffer huge swings in their wins or losses and will either finish deep in the money or bust out early in tournaments. As a result, they require a larger bankroll than say a TAG player to soak up these swings.

Another disadvantage is the fact the style can be tiring to play for prolonged periods of time as you will be involved in many hands and often have difficult decisions post-flop due to having less than premium starting hand requirements.

The best way to tackle LAGs is to use their aggression against them and try to trap once you have made a strong hand. Flopping a set is a fantastic result against most loose-aggressive players as you can let them bet into you and check-call until they are committed to the hand, at which point you can try get your stack into the middle.

Ideally you will be seated to the left of a LAG so that you have positional advantage over them in the hand. This also means you can re-raise them to isolate them and try to out flop or outplay them post-flop.

Whilst many would argue the LAG style is itself a bluff, be wary of good loose-aggressive players because when they decide to commit all their money in a hand, they usually have the goods, even if the only hand they are representing is seven-three off suit for an unlikely straight, they will have it!

More Matthew Pitt

How to Beat Weak Tight Players
Playing Against TAG Players
Taking Notes
Full ring or short-handed cash games?
Caution! LAG in Training

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  1. Robert Jackson | 28 March 2009

    Loose agressive players did you say? Here in Southern California I play a lot at the Hawaiian Gardens Casino against a lot of Oriental players and they go way beyond "loose agressive". Those guys are all "loose cannons" and they are liable to show you any two cards. The low buy in rebuy tournaments are unbelievable. Players shove and rebuy so much I just don't play until the third level when the rebuy period is over and they start playing like they have a little sense.
    Those tournaments are a lot of fun though and all things considered I enjoy playing there and the people are great.