One of the best features of No-Limit Hold’em is that you are free to play any style that takes your fancy. You can play as tight or loose, passive or aggressive as you wish; it is up to you to make your playing style profitable. Elite-level players such as Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey made the loose-aggressive (LAG) style their own, entertaining spectators and bamboozling opponents in equal measure. The LAG style is difficult to implement but exciting to play in addition to being potentially very lucrative, which is why the good folks at the WPT Global Blog have penned an article giving tips for wannabe LAGs.
First of all, you need to understand what a LAG style entails. LAGs have more relaxed starting hand requirements, meaning they play a wider range of hands and they play them aggressively, coming in for a raise and three-betting more frequently.
Where players with the skills of the aforementioned Dwan and Ivey can play any two cards, the WPT Global Blog suggests not getting too crazy when you first attempt playing LAG.
“When it comes to the start ranges of a good loose-aggressive player, they’ll play somewhere between 10-20% looser than a good tight-aggressive player. If a TAG player has a VPIP/PFR of 20/16, a good loose-aggressive player will be around 35/30, which is a significant increase.”
Changing to a LAG style isn’t just adding a bunch more cards to your range but carefully selecting the correct hands. For example, according to the WPT Global Blog, “you want to use hands that are suited and/or connected, or have decent high-card value.” The WPT Global Blog suggests a hand such as five-three suited is better than queen-five offsuit. As a general rule, pretend you are seated one position later when you are considering opening the pot. If you are in the under-the-gun (UTG) seat, open hands you would in the UTG+1 seat, and so on.
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When to Play a LAG Style and When Not To
The best style of poker to play is usually the opposite of what your opponents are doing, leading to the LAG style being best when faced with a table full of TAGs or tight-passive players. Why? Because these players will fold more frequently.
“You’re going to win way more than your fair share of pots as they’re going to fold far too often. You’ll find that your showdown winnings won’t be great, but you’ll be winning so many pots without a showdown that it won’t matter,” the WPT Global Blog said.
You should only employ a LAG style against players that fold too much, those players that seem to always see monsters under the bed. Opening with such a wide range of hands means that you are unlikely to have the best hand most of the time, so you’ll make most of your money or accumulate more chips when your opponent gives up the ghost and folds.
The WPT Global Blog suggests switching from a LAG to a more TAG approach if you find yourself on a table of loose-passive players, which are common in low-stakes live cash games. This is because these players never fold if they have a piece of the board; they’re not called calling stations for nothing!
“Low-stakes live games are great examples of this. They’re filled with players who don’t like to fold and will happily go to showdown with top pair no matter how the board runs out. There are plenty of players who have gone broke trying to bluff the recreational players at $1/$2. For those at the back – THEY’RE NOT GOING TO FOLD! Save your money and play a tight-aggressive strategy instead; it will be a lot more profitable in the long run.
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How Do You Combat LAG Opponents?
Coming up against a talented LAG opponent is not the most ideal scenario, not least because they will put you in some difficult spots where you are continually second-guessing whether they have a solid hand or they simply have their hands in the cookie jar yet again. Good LAG players will make large bets on scary boards, forcing you to call with weaker hands than you would like.
“If you come across a player who is playing a loose-aggressive strategy, the best counter you can have for them is to call down more often when you have showdown value. Even a good loose-aggressive player is going to have trouble balancing their bluffs and their value bets due to the increase in hands they’re playing preflop. This means that when they bet, they’re far more likely to be over-bluffing, which means that the best exploit is to call more often.
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Why Not Try a LAG Style at WPT Global Today?
A LAG style can be the most fun you’ll have at the poker table when things are going your way. Why not try to play LAG during your next session at WPT Global? The online poker site has busy cash games where you can test new strategies, in addition to a massive selection of tournaments of all buy-in levels where you could use a LAG style of play to vacuum up chips, especially around the money bubble.
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