What is 'Loose Game'?
A loose game in poker is one where a lot of players are in on the first round of betting
. In games involving flop, more than half the players will see the flop. In stud games
, more than half the players are in for fourth street
. This means that a lot of the players are calling and raising with a hand that should have been folded. In other words, they are making a great deal of mistakes, and they are playing with hands that shouldn't be played.In some loose games, the looseness extends throughout the game, and in others, players will play loosely in the first round, and then shift gears to play tight. There are several loose games played for low stakes, which causes many players to consider low limit games
synonymous with loose games.
'Loose Game' Explained
Although this may be considered reasonable game profiling, it is important to be aware of the game characteristics. Any deal can result in typically loose players receiving cards that are beneath even their standards, causing them to fold. So it is important to understand the nature of any game can change. It would be dangerous to assume that just because a game is loose, that every hand will be played that way.In middle and high stake
games that are generally tight, there may be loose moments, and because hand values vary with the type of game being played, it is important to stay vigilant to the type of game, and what developments take place in the hands of cards.It is very possible to win a loose game because by definition they are populated with players who do not play selectively, therefore not playing well. Almost all players that win are tight-aggressive.Many players claim they can't beat loose games, but there are several factors contributing to their failure.Not respecting the table stakes
: Loose games are typically played with low limit
stakes, and even experienced players tend to relax because the stakes are not substantial to them. Properly played poker requires the stakes to be regarded in proportion to the ante and pot size. Playing $0.50 / $1 Hold 'em
should be played the same as if it were $50 / $100, or $5,000 / $10,000. When players have the outlook of: "What the heck? It's only $1!", they are still playing losing poker.Frustration over being drawn out on repeatedly
: There is a greater chance that the best starting hand
won't hold up if there are a lot of players in the pot
. On the other hand, it wins a lot when it does hold up. It is easy to get frustrated when starting with the best hand, yet lose several times successively. What happens is they begin to play too loosely themselves. These are simply excuses to play badly, which perpetuates the myth that loose games are unbeatable.The wrong hands are played
: Sometimes the right hand to play in a loose game is not obvious. Players tend to label hands either playable or unplayable, and respond accordingly. However, hand selection in loose games is very different than in tight games.Playing too well
: Useful advanced plays like bluffs
don't work in loose games because of the opponent's lack of insight, or the size of the pot relative to the bet size.Respect the stakes and the game, remain focused on the task at hand, select the proper hand for each situation and play in a manner suitable for the game to prevail in loose games.Position always matters, even in a loose game because it isn't obvious to any player at the table how many players are going to be in each hand unless they are in late position. Whether a player is going to raise or not is another thing that a player in a poor position will be unable to tell. Considering that position lasts the whole round in flop games, for example, on the river if someone bets and a player sees two callers, they may be able to fold a hand otherwise called if they were forced to act right after the bettor. In this case, late position can save the player a bet.On the other hand, a player makes a call
on the end if there is a bet, and everyone folds to the player, and they are last. If the player had been forced to act with several other potential callers, or raisers behind them, they may have folded. The late position just helped them to win the whole pot, where otherwise they might not have.A player's ability to exploit good position and avoid bad position will go a long way in the overall improvement of the player's game, and make them a winner. It is important to note that not all loose games are created equal. The games with a lot of players and a lot of pre-flop raises are considered loose-aggressive, while games with a lot of players and minimal raises are considered loose-passive. Both these types of games share the characteristic of having a lot of players, the nature of playable hands depends on how many raises will be encountered.The average winning hand goes up because there are a lot of players in the pot, and therefore involved in trying to make a winning hand.The player that wins will need a good final hand, despite the nature of the starting cards. Two-pair, three-of-a-kind
, straights, and flushes win most of the pots, and even one-pair wins occasionally. This is a characteristic that greatly effects the starting hands a player chooses to enter the pot with in a loose game.