Poker is an incredibly popular game. There are over a hundred million online poker players worldwide. It has a thriving competitive scene, with many famous, high-stakes poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker. A large part of why poker is so popular is its learning curve. The basic rules are elementary, and the game is easy to set up. That means beginners can get into poker quickly. While easy to learn, poker is also far from easy to master. There are countless factors to consider with every decision, giving poker a strategic depth like none other.
A core aspect of poker strategy is analyzing your opponents’ playstyles. Unlike most casino games, you play against real people. That gives poker an intense psychological element. With a proper understanding of your opponents’ playstyle, you can modify your own to win against them. This poker guide will cover how to deal with one of the most notorious kinds of poker players: Loose players. We will cover everything from what loose players are to finding and beating them.
If you are a poker beginner, you might not have heard of the four main poker playstyles. All four come from combinations of “tight” or “loose” and “passive” or “aggressive”. Tight and loose describe how many hands you play. Tight players play fewer hands, sticking to premium pocket pairs like AA or suited connectors like AKs. Loose players play many more hands, even those considered mediocre. While tight and loose describe how many hands you play, passive and aggressive describe how you play these hands. Passive players prefer to check and call, while aggressive players bet and raise more often.
The four types of poker players
How to identify loose players
Identifying loose players has become much easier with online poker. You have access to poker heads-up displays (HUDs) and tracking software. These invaluable tools display statistics about your opponents mid-match, which can be used to get an accurate read on their playstyles. To identify loose players, you should focus on their VPIP (Voluntarily Put Money In The Pot) percentage. That describes how often they enter the pot, so higher percentages mean they play more hands and vice versa. The average VPIP in 6-max Holdem is around 20 – 25%, so anything higher should be noted.
While the VPIP is all you need to identify if a player is loose, there is a big difference between loose-passive and loose-aggressive. To distinguish between the two, you can use various other statistics. The primary one is AG (Aggression Factor). This is how likely they are to make an aggressive action (bet/raise) compared to a passive action (calling/checking). Since aggression is generally a better strategy in poker, most players fall between 1 – 3 AG. Anything higher or lower is an outlier. You can also take a look at their PFR (pre-flop raise), 3B (3-bet), and CB (continuation bet) percentages. These are the most common aggressive techniques, so you can get a good idea of how aggressively someone plays from them.
How to beat loose players
Loose passive and loose aggressive players are almost entirely different. Loose passive players are more predictable and, as such, easier to exploit. They hate folding but do not aggressively bet or raise either. That means they overuse their one action: Calling. Because they call so much, they will often make it to the showdown. However, their wide variety of starting hands means they are unlikely to win. That makes loose passive players perfect for building big pots when you have a monster hand. They will call any bet you throw at them, making the pot massive. You have an incredible chance of winning the showdown since their hand may not even be good.
Loose aggressive players are a different beast. They are known for being tricky and unpredictable. While the style is not easy to beat, it still has weaknesses. Here are a few tips for winning against loose aggressives:
Where to practice against loose players
We hope this article taught you how to play poker against loose players. The best way to find these loose players is on sites like GGPoker, the world’s largest poker room. Online poker is easy to access, faster-paced and allows you to use the poker software mentioned above. GGPoker, in particular, offers this software for free to all its users. Sign up at GGPoker today!