Loose aggressive online poker players play more hands than average, and they play most of them in an aggressive manner. "Loose" is a relative term - it's used to compare the tendencies of the other players at the table.
Loose Poker is Relative
For example, in a game where 30% of the players on average see each flop, a loose player will be playing 40% or more of the hands. On the other hand, if the average to see the flop is 15%, the loose player may only be playing 25% of the hands. A player who plays 25% of the starting hands can be loose in one game and tight in another. They will be a tight player at a table where the average to see the flop is 30% or more, and loose in a game where the average to see the flop 20%.
The reason playing loose is seen as a bad strategy is because you enter too many hands with a starting hand that is not as good as your opponents. This makes it almost impossible to be a winning player in the long run.
On the other hand, if you're playing at a table with a lot of tight opponents, you have a chance to make a lot of money if you know how to play correctly. For the experienced player, there are games where a great deal of money can be made playing a loose aggresive style.
Where the loose player makes up for some of his or her shortcomings from playing loose is by playing most hands in an aggressive manner. The power of playing aggressively is that it forces your opponents to make decisions. Every time you can force an opponent to make a decision during a poker hand, he or she has a chance to make a mistake. You profit every time an opponent makes a mistake. The problem with playing aggressively when combined with loose starting hands is that you end up betting aggressively on too many hands where you are behind. This is a costly mistake in the long run, especially against good players. Good players will recognize that you are betting with sub par hands and will wait until they have very strong hands and let you bet off all of your money with little or no chance to win.
How to Beat Loose Aggressive Poker Players
The key to beating loose aggressive poker players is to play better starting hands than they do and take advantage of their aggression. You can usually check to aggressive players with even your strongest hands because they are likely to bet for you. If they are super aggressive, you can even bet with your strongest hands and be raised by your aggressive opponent. Here's an example of a hand where you can crush a loose aggressive player. You're in middle position and limp with a pair of nines. A loose aggressive player raises on the button and everyone folds around to you. You call because you know that if you hit a set you will be able to win a big pot. The flop includes a nine, giving you a set. You know your opponent will bet so you check. Sure enough, your opponent fires a pot sized bet. Now you have two choices, and your decision needs to be based on how aggressive your opponent is. If your opponent is likely to think a check-raise from you is just an attempt to push him or her off the pot, you should check-raise. If your opponent is very aggressive this is where he or she is likely to push all in. On the other hand, if you're sure your opponent will bet again on the turn, you should just call the flop bet, check the turn, and then check-raise the turn bet. A loose aggressive player usually has a hard time getting away from hands where they are clearly beaten. The tight aggressive player tends to be able to recognize when they are behind and can get away from more losing hands on the turn and river. By using the loose aggressive players aggression against him or her, you can build and win big pots when you hit a big hand. To finish our example with a different flop, if you don't hit a set on the flop, you simply check and fold to a bet. Yes, you have given up the call of the pre flop raise, but you need to realize that the next time you try this tactic and hot your set you should be able to win it and much more back. You'll hit your set on average one out of every eight times. So if you can win more than eight times, your call when you do hit a set you will be profitable. This is easy to do against loose aggressive opponents.
How to Outplay Loose Aggressive Poker Players on the Flop, Turn, and River
Another way to consistently beat loose aggressive poker players is to outplay them on the flop, turn and river. Most loose aggressive players do not play well and make incorrect decisions after the flop. If they can consistently make these types of decisions well, they will gravitate to playing more of a tight aggressive style.
To play better after the flop than your opponents, you must learn how they play and use their aggression against them. Drawing starting hands, like suited connectors and straight cards, go down in value and made hands like high pairs go way up in value.
For example, AA, KK, QQ and JJ are even more valuable than normal against a loose aggressive player and hands like 10,8 suited and KQ are usually unplayable. Even AK can be a dicey hand against a loose aggressive player because if you don't improve you will have a hard time of putting your opponent on a hand. For example, if you have AK and the flop is 10, 8, 3 you have no idea if it hit a loose opponent. Against a tight opponent the same flop is less likely to help them unless they made a set. Against a loose aggressive opponent play AK very aggressively before the flop because you are likely a favorite at that time. But after the flop be careful not to get too far into the hand unless it improve. Loose opponents are always harder to put on a hand than tight opponents. Loose passive opponents are easier to play against after the flop because they will let you draw to a better hand without charging you much to do so. On the other hand, a loose aggressive opponent will make you pay time after time to draw to a better hand. That is the main reason you need to plan your hand and how you will play after the flop before entering the pot. Always look ahead and consider the type of player you are up against before making a decision.
An example of thinking ahead would be if you are sitting in middle position with AQ suited with a couple loose aggressive players on your left.
Are you willing to call a raise playing out of position with this hand? The answer depends on how much better than your opponents you can play after the flop, but generally it is not a hand to call a raise with if you are out of position. So you need to either raise or fold, not wait until you are facing a raise after flat calling to make a decision. If you decide to raise, are you going to call a re-raise? The hand is not strong enough to call a re-raise unless the raise is from a maniac, so a fold is often best. I understand that many of you are saying that folding AQ suited from middle position can't be correct, but as you become a winning player you will see that it often is a correct fold. Position against a loose aggressive player is very important. Position is always important, but it helps you control the size of the pot against an aggressive player. One last way to punish loose aggressive players is to try to get as much money in before the flop when you are in a pot against them as possible with your strongest hands. By playing tight against their looseness, you are a strong favorite against their average hand before the flop. If you can get more money in the pot when you are a favorite you will win more over the long run. You will lose some large pots to poor draws, but you will eventually win more often than you lose.
How to Be a Loose Aggressive Poker Player
That may seem like a strange title for a section because we just finished telling you why you don't want to be a loose aggressive player. But there are instances where playing looser than normal can be profitable. So here are the reasons you may want to play a loose aggressive style at times and how to do it well.
First you need to understand that aggressive play is always better than passive play, no matter how you play with pre flop hand selection. But understand that when I say aggressive, I mean in the correct circumstances. It is not correct to bet and raise when you are drawing to a winning hand and you are getting the correct pot odds to do so. A smart aggressive player still checks and calls when it is the most profitable play over time. When you want to loosen up your starting hand is when everyone, or almost everyone, else at the table is playing very tight. In a very tight game you can find many areas to increase your profit by loosening up your starting hand, especially if the table is overall tight passive.
The fact is that in most online games you will find plenty of loose players, so you won't run into many games where loose play is the winning strategy.