What is ‘Loose-Aggressive’?
Loose-aggressive is a style of play characterized by players at a poker table who play hands more frequently than others (loose), and bets them aggressively, usually leading with bets or raising more often than checking or calling when playing those hands (aggressive).
Poker players can essentially be separated into two primary factors defining their method of playing. These factors are tight/loose and passive/aggressive. The tight/loose factor is displayed in a player’s starting hand method of play. Tight players typically play only the best hands, and loose players will typically play a wide variety of hands.
To that end, you can begin to realize that whether a player is tight or loose does not define how they play their hand, it is only concerning the selection of hands they choose to play. It can be easier to look at it this way: Players will either play a tight range of hands, or a loose range of hands.
How the player plays their hand of cards, either passive or aggressive, will determine how you play against them. You will be able to tell whether they are passive or aggressive players by observing their tolerance of risk.
The passive player is more likely to play with fear of losing, and avoids confrontation. The aggressive player is not afraid to risk their stack, and will typically raise more often than call.
Based on your observations, you can categorize your opponents easily. Your first step is to decide whether the player is tight or loose. So if your opponent is folding most of the time, they are tight, if your opponent is playing a lot of their hands, they are loose. The next step is to determine whether your opponent is a passive or aggressive player. If they call and check more than they raise and bet, they are passive. If they bet and raise frequently, they are aggressive. A player who often raises or re-raises an array of hands preflop, and also bets on most flops is a loose-aggressive opponent. This type of player can be difficult to read because they play such a wide range of hands.
There are some skilled poker players who utilize a loose-aggressive method of play effectively, using their stacks as weapons, and putting constant pressure on their opponents. They can be hard to play against, and bluff most of the time. An extreme loose-aggressive opponent is considered a maniac player, who raises with no rhyme or reason, and this overplay of hands tendency will prove to be profitable for you as an opponent in the long run.
Observation is key, and it is vital for you to observe your opponents to discover their tendencies and what types of plays and decisions they make according to their personality types. You should try to classify them into one of the two groups based on the primary factors that define their method of play. Your decisions on how to play against them will be much easier, as well as profitable.
Keep in mind that poker is an aggressive game, especially hold ’em poker. If you are not comfortable being an aggressive player, then maybe you shouldn’t play, or for that matter, expect to win. Playing poker aggressively is critical to any player’s success, and it is not a game for the weak. The truth is, every time you sit down to play, you are trying to beat the other player and take their money.
You would do well to mix up your game occasionally, so your opponent will be unable to read you correctly, and there are times when it is good to be deceptive and just call preflop with a premium hand, or check-call a strong hand after a flop. The best poker players have the ability to adjust the way they play according to the players at the table, and the conditions of the game.