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Loose Aggressive Play

An Introduction to Loose-Aggressive Play
By Loki Luchs of

As serious poker players, our ultimate goal is to make money. When all of the exaggerated glory of combat is cut away, the only way to keep score is by how much you have made. A secondary goal is to be the best in the game. This isn't important for any other reason than being the best will put you deeper in the black than all of your competition. When you win, you'll win more. When you lose, you'll lose less.

The further you advance in levels, though, the more difficult it is to be the best. You have to improve all of your abilities in order to keep pace with your opponents. When you inevitibly hit a wall in your advancement, that is, when your competition becomes too difficult to beat, you may be faced with this choice: Do you move down a level and hope to improve or change your game completely? For a seasoned tight-aggressive player who is looking to beat the bigger games, some choose to change everything that got them to where they are.


The single most dangerous player in any game is the loose-aggressive gambler (LAG); the LAG is capable of breaking rocks, milking calling-stations, and sending the best tight-aggressive gambler on the biggest tilt of their lives.

The problem with being a LAG, however, is that they are also dangerous to themselves. Most LAGs are on a fluctuation roller-coaster that may make them or cost them as much as ten standard buy ins a session! The vast majority of LAGs that I've met over the years are overly-aggressive bullies who miss the good old days of sticking geeks in their lockers; all of these players are overall losers because being a successful LAG takes more than brute force. It takes a mastery of strategy, statistical percentages, and body language to know when you're going to utilize your abilities.

A winning LAG has competent hand reading abilities, and furthermore has a vivid understanding of their opponents styles, play tendencies, and general psychological outlook on the entire game. Until a player has mastered all of these aspects of the game, they will not be able to profit over a long duration as a LAG. When they have, however, they stand to become the single most dangerous player in any game they play in. Players like Sammy Farha, Humberto Brenes, and Gus Hansen are feared by every top pro because they play unpredictible hands that might have hit any hand on the flop. If you want to crush every player at the table, this is the means to your end.

The strategies of a LAG player are very different than that of a tight-aggressive gambler. Tight aggressive gamblers play only premium hands so that they enter almost every hand with a statistical advantage over their opponents.

A master LAG player enters a hand with the almost exact opposite strategy: they know that they are almost always an underdog before the community cards come. They feel that they have enough skill and advantage to outplay an opponent after the flop. They also know that the player who starts with the statistical advantage is not always the one who wins after the river.

Opponents, inexperienced and sophisticated alike, will often commit a large portion of their stack when they start with a premium hand that doesn't hold up. Huge amounts of money can be made by the mistakes made by players with a hand that didn't hold up! If you feel that you have a mastery of all major facets of the game, consider trying the LAG style. Do NOT attempt this if you are not an accomplished player with a considerable bankroll. A LAG player needs a bankroll 4-5 times larger than the average player because even the best will have considerable swings. Just remember that by being the most dangerous player at the table, you might also become the most dangerous player to yourself!


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