Quick Tips for Beating Loose Poker Games
The following was submitted via our online poker forum (back when I actually hosted one in 2006. These days, just go ahead and leave me a comment):
“First, let me thank you for your site. You have some of the most honest poker site reviews on the Net.”
Thanks for the compliments. I try to be as honest to my experiences with each individual poker site as possible. The larger goal of this site is to help online poker players find a new site based on their priorities and then do well once they get there.
Table of Contents
- Extracting the maximum value
- Protecting against draws in loose games
- Adjusting your strategy against loose players
Extracting the maximum value
“Right now, I am trying to crush Bodog. If loose+agressive+stupid=gold mine, then I’m panning away. I mean, really, where does Calvin Ayre find these idiots, anyway?
I’m looking for a way to suck maximum value from these morons. My standard tactic has been to wait for AA, KK, or flopped sets and then push, but the winrate doesn’t impress me much.”
In regards to your basic strategy of waiting for those absolute nut hands, it’s a great way to win in theory but those premium hands don’t come around often enough to live by.
Of course, when you do draw pocket Aces or Kings I recommend raising 5-6x BB on a crazy site like Bodog. You should play tight at a loose table (which most are at most online poker sites), but you don’t have to play THAT tight.
Grinding out consistent profits in No-Limit Hold’em via premium pocket pairs and flopped sets is tough. Sometimes you can wait around for a couple of hours, double up with your pocket Aces, and sign off. This is especially true at loose sites where it seems like you get plenty of action on any given hand.
Unfortunately, more often you’ll win a small pot preflop, on the flop, or get those big hands cracked altogether. You need to play a balanced game, and fortunately these loose games can often give you the pot odds to take advantage of your position and knowledge of their loose nature.
Protecting against draws in loose games
“I can find no way to play TPTK or two pair because these guys draw on anything.”
Because of all the draws you’ll have to push your TPTK (top pair top kicker) more than usual. You can’t be afraid to continue with the hand because that hand will win a good chunk of your profit in No-Limit Hold’em.
Firstly, you’ll have to analyze the texture of the board. Are there any obvious draws out (two suited cards?) or a completed draw on the board already? If there is only a draw on the board, I would bet over the size of the pot, especially against multiple opponents.
If there is a completed draw on the board and you get raised, you’ll have to re-evaluate your hand.
Making it expensive to be drawn out on by loose players
You’re correct in that it seems as though players on this site draw out on anything so you’ll even have to bet out with your flopped sets and non-nut straights and flushes. Don’t you hate it when those seemingly fishy players make those higher straights and flushes using only one of their hole cards?
If you aren’t making it expensive for them to do so, you need to start! If you know that players are going to try to draw out on you make them pay to do it. Charge them at least the size of the pot if you see two suited and/or connected cards on the board.
Bet at least the size of the pot with a vulnerable hand
My main point is that you have to be prepared for tricky scenarios such as TPTK against known suck outs.
Personally, my main defense would be to bet at least the size of the pot and follow my gut. If, from my history with the player, I really felt that they were trying to draw out on me and they rarely gave up in the face of big bets, I would just set him (or myself) all-in.
If he calls that huge bet on a draw then you should only be so fortunate to be at the same table with such a truly untalented player. If he doesn’t, you did pick up the pot…
Adjusting your strategy against loose players
“1.) I could play more suited connectors and suited aces, but I hate paying 10bb to see the flop with my A7s.”
I would definitely recommend playing more suited connectors if you can get in cheaply from late position with 3 or 4 other callers. This would give you the proper pot odds to play this type of hand, which can be goldmines when they occasionally hit that straight or two pair on the flop in No-Limit.
However, if you’re going to play low suited connectors you also need to have the discipline to let them go when you don’t flop a monster. In regards to paying 10x the big blind with A7s, don’t do it!
...spend another penny on yet another poker book.
I'm giving away my 6-part course if you download it in the next 24 hours.
"The whole PDF on the Beat The Fish guide was absolute gold for me. Very impressed, has really made a difference to how I play my game from when I first started. Definitely built up my confidence in the game and helping me to stop spewing off chips." -Dylan Walsh
This one is an unhealthy temptation
“2.) I could try to limp into the pot with anything and hope to hit. Both pot odds and implied odds seem to point that way, but those cards would have to hit the flop pretty hard.”
This would be falling into the same trap thinking that fuels the online poker fish. Most of the time when you play “anything” starting cards for the sake of playing them, you’ll be tossing your hand into the muck after the flop. That’s a small leak. The bigger leak is when you sort of hit the flop and continue on calling bets with a second-best hand.
Even if you do win a massive pot when you hit trips with your 7-4 offsuit, you shouldn’t just focus on the results. It was still a bad decision to play that hand and you’d be reinforcing bad poker play. It’s something that I talk about in my Beat the Fish tutorial: don’t sink to their level.
Ranting in the chat box is largely pointless
“3.) I have tried making a spectacle of myself in the chat box, but it seems to have no affect on how the donks play their hands.”
Of course, this would be your personal choice, but I mute the chat entirely when I play poker. I just don’t like it. Why mouth off (or listen to someone else mouth off) when you can easily ignore it and concentrate on your play?
Besides being potentially distracting, it can be harmful to the “donks”. It might make them feel embarrassed enough to leave the table or it could encourage them to play better. If they truly are donkeys, you don’t want them doing either.
I hope that these tips can help you a bit in the loose online games that can be both greatly rewarding and frustrating.
Josh is one of the world’s most respected online gambling experts. He has been featured on outlets such as CardPlayer, the World Poker Tour, Google News, and Forbes. Josh has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing poker rooms, casinos, and online sportsbooks. He launched Beat The Fish in 2005, which has been peer-certified as a trustworthy gambling portal. Josh’s proven systems and extensive knowledge of the iGaming industry have been used by thousands of online bettors to make more informed decisions.