LAG, otherwise known as loose aggressive poker is just as it
sounds. A LAG player will be all over the map in terms of their
approach to the game. Loose aggressive players can be both
winners and losers. Just because someone is loose, it doesn’t
automatically mean that they are losing players, though this is
going to be the case more often than not. There are plenty of
loose players who know how to pick their spots and time their
aggression so that they are winning a lot of pots with their
unconventional style of play. If you don’t think that you
already fall into this category of players, it’s probably not a
good idea to try and adopt the strategy now.
Though loose aggressive players can be big winners or big losers, the one
thing that holds true is that they will both experience large
amounts of variance. The very nature of loose play doesn’t lend
itself to smooth rides in poker. You are going to have sessions
where you win a bunch of buy ins, but you are also going to have
sessions where you lose a bunch as well. This extreme variance
is one of the primary reasons why most players don’t even
bother to attempt playing loose and aggressive. You are
essentially going to be teetering on the edge of disaster with
many of the moves that you make when playing LAG, so you most
definitely need to be prepared for the ride.
LAG Pre-Flop Play
When it comes to pre-flop strategy, loose aggressive players
are going to be making a lot of open raises, frequent 3/4-bets,
and just about everything in between. This style of play isn’t
exclusive to post-flop situations by any means. A LAG player is
going to take advantage of the absolute most steal opportunities
that they have.
A good loose aggressive player is going to be more worried about taking down
pots pre-flop whereas the losing LAG player will not mind seeing
a bunch of flops.
The general rule of thumb in this case is that
the losing players are action junkies while the winning players
just want to win as many pots without a showdown as possible.
From an opponent’s point of view, this is going to be one of the
easiest ways to decipher between a good and a bad LAG player.
It’s not so much that a LAG player will often times get way
out of line, it is instead that they will pounce on more of the
traditional opportunities that they have. For example, even a
regular TAG player will toss in a light 3-bet from time to time
if they think they can pull off a steal. However, the LAG player
will be making these 3-bets at a much higher frequency. The simplest way to look
at it is by knowing that the LAG player is going to ramp almost all of the
action up. They don’t reinvent the wheel, they just inject it
with a new level of aggression that many players aren’t used
LAG Post-Flop Play
Post-flop strategy for a loose aggressive player is going to
involve a lot of calculated risks. Where some players would
rather make calls and see another card, LAG players will prefer
to make a raise and put the decision back on their opponent.
Fearlessness is going to be a very common theme in LAG play.
These players don’t mind if they are called down lightly or
miss their big draws from time to time, because they know that
the folds they tend to force will more than compensate for it in
In addition to raises and re-raises, LAG players also like to
start as much of the action as they can. They don’t look for
spots to check call or check fold. Continuation bets, double
barrels, and triple barrels should be at hand for any LAG
player. This is the reason why their variance reaches such
dramatic levels. They don’t need to have big hands to win, but
they are usually in trouble when they get caught.
Defending Against LAG Players
Beating a loose aggressive player is going to be a two-part
approach. You first need to be able to beat the winning LAG
players, and then you also need to be able to defeat the losing
LAG players. As you might imagine, taking on the losing LAG
players is the easiest of the two. You are going to need some
guts and brains to beat an inventive loose aggressive player,
while you can simply value bet and call down lightly against the
Taking on the winning LAG players
Winning LAG players are going to make you feel helpless in
some situations. You are going to end up making some calls after
much agony just to find out that you were crushed the whole
time. By that same token, however, you’ll make some painful
calls where you expect the worst but were actually dominating
from the get go. The thing about loose aggressive players is
that they will make you sweat it out each step of the way.
Obviously, you’ll want to be as comfortable and confident in
your decisions as possible, but LAG players just aren’t going to
accommodate this desire.
How to Win
To beat a loose aggressive player, you’ll need to have strong
hand reading skills and the ability to effectively pick apart a
line. In other words, you are going to need to be good at the game
you are playing. There just isn’t another way to put it. If you
aren’t a winning player at your limit, beating a LAG opponent is
not going to be easy to do.
Defeating the losing LAG players
A losing loose aggressive player is the polar opposite of a
winning LAG player. You won’t need to be a poker wiz to take
down these opponents with relative ease. For the most part, it’s going to go one of two different ways. You can either let the
other player take control of the hand while sitting back and
letting them hand you their chips, or you can be the aggressor
and let them call off their stack. Neither approach is
necessarily better than the other and both are dependent upon
the specific hand they relate to.
How to Win
If you are in position and are
getting bet into, just keep stringing the losing LAG player
along, making raises where it’s necessary to get their entire
stack in the middle. If you are out of position and know that a
certain player is prone to coming over the top of your bets or
simply calling you down lightly, start firing away. Beating a
weak LAG player is one of the easiest things to do in the game.
Loose aggressive players serve as the king of the fish and will
pad your bankroll nicely over the long run.
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