Tips for Playing Loose Aggressive Poker
Playing a loose aggressive style of poker, otherwise referred to as LAG, can be one of the most profitable styles to play. The main thing to keep in mind is that being a successful LAG does not mean you will play like a wild maniac.
This might be the image you give off, but it certainly is not what you are actually doing. Some famous LAG’s in cash games are Tom “Durrrr” Dwan, Patrik Antonius, and Doyle Brunson. In tournament play, both Vanessa Selbst and Daniel Negreanu exemplify the LAG style.
Play Lots of Hands
The basic principle of the LAG is to play a lot of pots. There should be an emphasis on position and table awareness. If you have position then you will want to put pressure on the other players by raising. A tight-aggressive player (TAG) will tend to play only premium hands and will want to play them from late position. A LAG will play a much wider range of hands, and will also play them aggressively.
For instance, if you are dealt a suited connector and there is a raise in front of you, a TAG will fold. A LAG will either raise or call. This depends on the stack depth. Deep stack play, which is 150 BBs or more, favors LAG play. You can profitably play all sorts of combinations of hands when the effective stacks are 150 plus.
Don’t Use Blind Aggression
Being a LAG does not mean playing like a donkey. If there is a raise and a re-raise on a flop of Ad-Ks-Qd and there are two players in the pot, you need to have a strong holding to continue on with the hand. If you have a 3d-4d then you should dump the hand. You are drawing to two backdoor draws that might not be good if they hit.
Likewise, if you have a small pocket pair, something like pocket 6’s and below, and a medium stack makes it 15 BBs to go preflop, then you do not have odds to set-mine. A hand such as suited connectors has to be dumped as well.
Don’t chase. Put pressure on your opponents. LAG’s are never calling stations. LAG’s are aggressive. If you have a straight draw and a flush draw on the flop you should never call a bet, you should raise, unless the stacks are super deep. The principle of aggressive poker as exemplified in Super System and seen in high stakes pros will attest to the fact that aggression works better than passive play.
Don’t Play Every Hand
Profitable players will never play every hand. The odd times when you see a successful LAG play garbage hands such as 7x-2x, etc… is when they either have position or are making a pure steal based on table dynamics.
If you are on the button and a TAG raises from the cutoff and there are two nits in the small blind and big blind, then you could profitably 3-bet fold a garbage hand. Of course, you will need to be sure that the cutoff will either 4-bet or fold, and you want them to fold more often than not.
Don’t Underestimate Table Image
If you are a TAG it is less important to understand table image than if you are playing a LAG style. The other players may see a LAG as a maniac. This means that people will either value bet you lighter, or bluff you more. The upside of being a LAG is that you can value bet much lighter.
This means that you need to pay attention to the different opponents. You need to be aware of who is playing a passive style, who is playing a tight fit or fold style, and who is a LAG or TAG. This way you will be able to approximate the holdings of the other players. Because a LAG is often going to be playing substandard holdings you need to have a better ability to hand read. This comes with time, practice, and study.