It is often said that the loose-aggressive (LAG) style is more difficult to teach and to execute than the tight-aggressive (TAG) one. However in ring games then one of the most successful styles of play is playing loose-aggressive during the first two betting rounds and more or less standard beyond it.
This is a style that works very well in lower stakes ring games where more opponents fail to adjust to your style. In fact in areas like full ring games then the average opponent is playing very narrow ranges and so a looser style and especially one that is more aggressive can work very well.
So just how does the pre-flop LAG style work? Well firstly you need to understand the reasons why aggression is very good in lower stakes ring games. It all boils down to the full range of reasons as to why aggression works. Firstly aggressive play escalates the pot but it only escalates the pot during the early phases of the hand.
Missing the Poker Concept
This is a concept that is missed and overlooked by the vast majority of lower stakes poker players. Let us say that you have a 100bb stack before the hand started and you made it 6bb to go after two limpers.
If you figure that they are capable of making post flop mistakes in bigger pots then it is in your interests to increase the stakes with hands that have the potential to win big pots. You are also raising to give yourself a shot at winning the pot in one of two ways.
Your aggression creates greater fold equity because in many cases you will win the pot uncontested pre-flop or isolate against a single opponent thus giving you a greater chance to win post flop. Secondly if you are careful with regards to what types of hands you raise or re-raise with then you will always have greater equity in the pot post flop.
Even the difference between A-3 for example if they are suited or not adds equity to your hand. Suited cards, high cards and connecting cards are great for adding percentage points to your chances of winning the pot.
Staying Aggressive in The Hand
Flush draws and straight draws allow you to remain aggressive and fire further barrels which enables your opponent to fold whilst also having the safety net of being able to make a winning hand should you get called. Let us say that your pre-flop raise with say the 10d-9d gets called.
A very good LAG player likes this line because although it decreases their chances of winning the pot then it is offset by the fact that it increases their chances of winning a greater amount of money and it is the latter that the true LAG is interested in.
The better players make their money in online poker because they tend to place themselves into situations where they can win the pot both ways. So when they bet or raise then they are doing so to bluff and for value. Just how is it possible to raise as a bluff and for value at the same time?
Is Your Opponent Bluffing
Let us say that your opponent limps with 7d-7c and you raise with the 10d-9d. This raise is a bluff because it represents a hand that is stronger than the one that you actually have. Also the hand is for value as well but the value doesn’t stem from the fact that 10-9s is a stronger hand than pocket sevens because it isn’t.
The value stems from how 10-9s can exert ample pressure to win the money post flop from their opponent simply because they were the aggressor. Or if we look at a flop like 10-4-2 then the sevens will at least call one barrel and so there are many ways for the suited connector to extract value.
If say the board was J-4-2 and they check-called our c-bet and the turn card was an ace. Because we raised and with two overcards to concern them then our opponent will find it tough to continue should we fire a further barrel on the turn.