Loose Aggressive Players Can Be Defeated With Skill
The last two player types we will be looking at, loose aggressive and tight aggressive, are both more challenging to beat than the passive types. This is mostly because unlike passive players, they will put pressure on us and put us in a position to be manipulated should we not be up for the task.
The way aggression manipulates is twofold. First of all, it makes sure that it gets value from its good hands by building pots. Second, it takes advantage of players playing too tight by taking down pots when neither player has much or anything.
So this is of course the way we want to be playing a lot of the time but not always. Playing passively, although generally weak, does have its applications. If our opponents are willing to be the aggressor and will play loosely and aggressively, but will fold if we pressure them too much, then letting them do the bidding can often be a great idea.
What characterizes loose aggressive players from tight aggressive players isn’t the sheer amount of looseness that they exhibit, it’s mostly defined by how loose or tight they are pre flop. Loose aggressives, while they do tend to be more loose post flop, also play more hands.
Tight aggressives are always pretty selective pre flop, although they do tend to loosen up quite a bit as they get closer to the button, and especially on the button, where this is often seen as a license to raise with pretty much anything.
Loose Aggressives Play A Wider Range Of Starting Hands
Our strategy pre flop in a full ring game will be to be pretty selective and not play a bunch of garbage. We do need to pay attention to position but generally it won’t be in our interests to open up too much with good position, unless we’re going to be up against players who are so tight as to not have it matter what we have.
This does happen though and you have to be on the lookout for setting up situations where you can just fire out on the flop and make a profit. In this case it obviously won’t matter what cards you have.
So this is similar to how a tight aggressive player will play pre flop, although we do want to be aware of situations like the one I just described and loosen up when the situation warrants it. Tight aggressives do loosen up in a lot of these situations but are at least somewhat limited by their philosophy, but we want no such constraints.
Loose aggressive players though have no such limitations, and they simply like to play more hands. We of course still need to be judging them on their looseness both pre and post flop, and in fact, on each particular street. This is what stats are for though, and we need to be aware of them and use them in our defining our opponents.
Why their pre flop play matters is because we will be using their frequencies of pre flop play to get an idea of what sort of range of hands they tend to play. I do want to point out here that while we can and should use pre flop ranges to try to put players on hands, what we’re really striving for with this knowledge is to get an idea of our chances against them overall.
So being right or wrong in a particular hand is of little importance, and we should never give too much heed to individual hands or even small samples of them. You can lose 5 or more in a row and still have these plays be profitable overall, since it’s the overall that we need to be concerned about.
We Will Have Better Hands Than They Do
Generally speaking, we are going to be more selective pre flop than loose passives are, and will in fact be playing a similar range of hands to tight aggressive players. This is an important point, since, similar to calling raises with tighter ranges and better cards, we are going to be the favorite here overall and will make better hands in the end than they will.
Now this doesn’t mean we want to go toe to toe with them every time, even if they are complete maniacs and will bet and raise anything to the end. The two thirds rule applies here, as it does to any betting pattern, where we want to throw away the bottom third of our hands as a percentage of their betting percentage.
This can be a little difficult to explain to students, but it means that if a player is betting a certain amount of the time, and we play on and not fold that amount of the time, then that would consist of a 100% match. So if they bet two thirds of the time and we only fold one third, that means we play on two thirds and we match what they are going.
We Need To Be Selective Enough To Establish An Advantage
While you may be reluctant to introduce this concept to your students early on, given that discussions of major player types come up fairly early in your instructional series, you can’t really have a beneficial discussion of playing against aggressive players without at least giving them an idea of how to play against aggression.
A lot of your players may not have all that great of an idea how to match their hands with the ranges that we are talking about, but we at least need to get the concept in their head at this point, where as their knowledge and experience in using these concepts grow, they will gain a better and better understanding of what ranges match what.
So we take their range and then multiply by two thirds, and then we get what we should be shooting for. We don’t have to get this dead on though. Matching the range doesn’t hurt us, but won’t help us, as that’s the break even point. Playing looser than that gives the advantage to the opponent as we will lose more hands than we win.
As we reduce our frequency toward the two thirds level, the more we move toward it, the more advantage we establish. Once we start getting tighter than the two thirds point, the advantage starts to swing toward our opponent, where we start to play too tight, and first surrender more and more of the advantage we have, until finally we are playing so tight as to give them the advantage period.
I will pick up this discussion in the next article.