If you’re a tight player and you find yourself in a loose game of Texas Holdem, then you’re in poker heaven. Or at least you should be. A loose game is one where a large percentage of the players are playing a majority of their hands. Many of these hands are marginal and some are just simply weak. Before sitting down to play in a cash game scope out the site for loose games such as those listed at www.texasholdemonline.com’s list of Texas Holdem sites.
Recognizing Loose Games
Sometimes, it’s evident after a hand or two that you are sitting at a table that of the nine or ten players on board anywhere from five to seven are loose. That’s an amazing percentage and if you play your game, you should be able to take advantage of the situation.
The most telling sign that you’re in a loose game is that over a series of hands a large number of players tend to stay in through the flop. Often you’ll immediately notice this tendency during the first hand, and then after three to five hands, the loose players are confirmed.
Try to recognize the truly loose players—those who will play hands just for the sake of playing hands. These are people who think they aren’t in the game unless they are betting and raising. There are two ways to recognize these players.
The first is simply in their tendency to be in on every hand. No matter what, that player is in and stays in until the flop and often through to when the river card is revealed. Often they will fold at that point but by then a chunk of their cash is in the pot.
The second way, and this is extremely helpful to you, is when loose players reveal their cards at the end of the round. Even if they win, they often win with a weak pair. You really get to know a loose player by the hole cards they keep and reveal.
In order to take full advantage of loose games and players, you must always pay attention to every part of the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re in or out of a particular hand, always stay in the moment-to-moment ebb and flow of the game.
Position and the Loose Player
Hopefully, you are to the left of the loosest aggressive player at the table. If you are, you’ll be able to control your game much more effectively as you can read their wager first and get out before the hand gets out of control. Or, if you’re holding strong hole cards and are golden after the flop, you can take advantage of the loose player or players who are constantly raising.
What about loose passive players? They tend to be what are often referred to as “slow bleeders.” The loose passive player will be in almost all the time and as soon as things turn against them or raises start to multiply, they are out. Position is useful but not as important when playing against them.
Loose aggressive players often stay in, raising and trying to force players out, as they look for that 9 that will complete their inside straight, while someone else is clearly holding a flush. You can claerly take advantage of that type of player.
Loose Games and Winning
To win in an average game against loose players, you’re going to see the flop in about 20% to 30% of your hands. Of course, there are times when you play everything right and the cards simply run against you. That’s one of the frustrations and beauties of Texas Holdem. But for the sake of argument, we have to assume that if you play only with strong to moderately strong hole cards and manage the flop well that you’re going to set yourself up to beat loose players.
Stay in hands where you have two suited face cards, an A-K unsuited and any pair from 10s through As. You may also want to stay for the flop if you have unsuited K-Q or unsuited Q-J. The fact is, if you weren’t playing against a host of loose aggressive players, you might stay for other combinations of hole cards, but doing so against players who are both loose and aggressive can really deplete your chip stack quickly.
Once you see the flop, you need to determine if it’s worth staying in the hand. If you’ve got the hand won, then stay of course and take full advantage of the loose aggressive players, raising their raises. If you’re on the edge with 10 or more outs and two cards to go, try to stay for the turn. It could payoff.
After the turn, if you’re being pushed to the limit, you’ll need to carefully read the table and the players. If the percentages are in your favor, then stay. After the river, the same holds true. Get a full and honest reading of the table. This is essential in Texas Holdem. Chances are if you’ve been paying attention and analyzing each player properly, you’ll know exactly where you stand.
Loose Player Surprises
Some players will play loose at first and then switch when you least expect it. Part way through the game, they start playing fewer hands and choose to stay only when they are in possession of high hole cards. If you don’t notice the change in that player, you could find yourself faked out by them big time.
Other players start out tight and conservative but then change their style in the middle of the game, playing loose and aggressive. Sometimes these are loose aggressive players who are trying to be more disciplined and part way through the game fall back into their old ways. Watch for them. They could be a gold mine in the second half of the game.
Finally, you may play a hand perfectly and in the end be beaten by an aggressive loose player on a river card that goes against all odds. Don’t stop playing your game, don’t lose focus and don’t lose faith; these things happen.
Loose Game and Big Winnings
If you’re a smart, knowledgeable player who can read the table and take advantage of situations, then loose aggressive players in Texas Holdem are your prey. They can be your cash cow. However, never underestimate any player at your table. Always be mindful of each and every player’s move and decision. Doing so will enable you to stay in the game and be the big winner at the table.