PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, over $1m in exclusive freerolls every year and the most free poker content available on the Web.
Adjusting to Each Game Part 2: The Loose Game
This is part two of a two-part article explaining the importance of adjusting your playing style to the type of game you find yourself in.
In Part 1 yesterday we looked at the adjustments you need to make when playing in tight games, and talked a bit about the evolution of the LAG player.
In Part 2 we'll delve into the adjustments you need to make when faced with a loose game and games with both tight and loose players.
Adjusting for a Loose Game
Loose games are easier to adjust for and in my opinion easier to play than tight ones.
The loose-passive style is usually favored by poor poker players. They play too many hands and they take them too far past the flop. These players usually bleed money, often putting their money in bad.
Such opponents are the ATMs of the poker world. How to beat these players should be fairly obvious: just wait for a good hand and when you have it, value bet it. Bet, bet, bet. To beat calling stations you just have to eliminate bluffing from your arsenal and value bet them relentlessly.
Loose-aggressive players (the bad kind) are the same. You just wait for a big hand and then pick them off. If they keep betting, allow them to do so.
A bad LAG will be betting with less-than-stellar holdings fairly often, so it's incredibly easy to trap them. If you just wait for premium holdings you will eventually make a hand where you can stack them.
Playing in position versus a LAG makes your life easier. Try to get a seat to the left of a known LAG so you will not have to worry about him three-betting your openings all day.
LAGs by nature are playing far too many marginal hands and are far too aggressive in doing so. You can be the passive one playing against a LAG because you know the money is going to be going in. Just make sure you have a strong hand relative to his when you get it in!
As discussed in the "adjusting for tight tables" article, no longer are all LAGs bad. There are good LAGs playing these days. These players are extremely difficult to play against.
Before you label someone a bad LAG you must witness them make some sort of grievous error on a large street of betting. Good LAGs will be raising quite a bit before the flop and betting a ton of flops.
This does not necessarily mean that they're bad players, because whenever the pot gets big, you can bet that this player has a big hand.
What makes a LAG bad is his/her inability to slow down - the lack of a "stop" button. Good LAGs are gifted with self-control, whereas the bad LAG has no discipline and will often build a giant stack and lose it just as fast.
Make sure you are able to differentiate between the two types.
Games with Tight and Loose Players
This is the type of environment in which the ability to change gears will help you the most. You can play one style versus one opponent at the table and yet completely different against another.
Your ability to change gears at the drop of a hat will make you a formidable opponent. Once you have identified your bad opponents at the table and why they are bad - because they're either too loose or too tight - you can exploit them by playing as many hands against them as possible.
If either the tight or the loose player limps in, you should often try and raise to isolate him or her. The more times you find yourself heads-up against these bad players in position, the more easy dollars you will make at the table.
The ability to change gears greatly increases your chances of becoming an extremely successful player. Many live players can't adjust to the online atmosphere and find themselves losing money.
Contrary to the rationalizations some of these players come up with, this has nothing to do with online poker being "rigged." Rather, it's because they're unable to adapt to the specific dynamics of the online game.
True, it's all poker; online is just played in a different style than live. If you learn to adapt to whichever game you're playing, you'll win money hand over fist both live and online.
More strategy articles from Dan Skolovy: