Not so long ago, tight aggressive poker was regarded as the ultimate type of Texas hold ’em, which explains why there are so many TAGs out there. Things have changed dramatically over the course of time, and nowadays it is the loose aggressive players that are more numerous. Most of them are playing at high-stakes, at least the most successful ones, but there are plenty to encounter at low and medium limits. This is why it is very important to know which are the main traits and which are the most effective solutions to counter them when you are pit against this type of opponents.
By definition, a loose aggressive poker player is a person who plays a fairly broad range of cards and has no hesitation in betting and raising on all streets. This explains why some less experienced players have difficulties in distinguishing between a good loose aggressive player and a maniac. There are certain similarities between them, but the difference resides in the fact that the latter is not following any patterns or strategies. The maniac is driven solely by his burning desire of being the focal point of attention at the poker table and fears nothing more than being bluffed by other players.
For a maniac, it is irrelevant whether he has good cards or late position, and these players couldn’t care less about what types of opponents they are competing against. Don’t attempt to steal blinds from them with mediocre cards, and always be prepared for your initially small bets to demand a follow-up raise of larger proportions. Patience is the most important weapon in your arsenal against maniacs and if you can find a way of resisting the temptation to take his money quickly, then you will emerge victorious.
One similarity between the aforementioned players and LAGs is that they seem to be in complete control of what happens at the poker table. For the untrained eye, the differences are negligible because both of them are raising and betting confidently why the rest of the players simply react to their moves. The truth is that a good loose aggressive player is playing the long game and knows exactly when to retreat from a potentially dangerous pot. Even though it might appear like he is on the road to perdition and just one step away from becoming pot committed, a LAG will never go the whole 9 yards with weak cards.
Loose aggressive players are extracting profits from flop and turn plays, and they don’t expect to win large pots by forcing an all in pre-flop. They are waiting for the board to weave a coherent strategy, and since they are playing such a broad range of cards it is very difficult to get an accurate read on them. For a maniac, the board is less important because regardless of what the dealer pulls out of the deck, he will always be the first to bet or raise an opponent if he is in late position.
Against all these opponents it is reasonable to make small bets every now and then, without overreacting and pushing more chips in the middle of the table. You don’t want to look like a rock even though a tight style of poker is recommended against both these opponents, since you need all the action you can get. The best thing is that when playing against a maniac, even if you are only playing premium hands, there is a good chance for your opponents to call your raises out of spite or excessive and unjustified pride.