• July 24, 2021

Poker strategy: Defending Against LAG Players

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The Loose-Aggressive style (LAG) is a very assertive style of play. LAG players are loose to the point of being obnoxious. They will 3-bet (re-raise) your Aces with junk hands and demolish your Pocket Kings with mediocre starting hands like A-2 off-suit.
Despite the sometimes maniacal play, the LAG style can be profitable in the right poker player’s hands. It is a more advanced poker strategy and you should not try it i you have any doubts about your poker ability.
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LAG Player Style
The loose element of the LAG player style refers to their wide range of starting hands. LAG’s will play almost any hand from any position and to any amount of pre-flop action. The aggressive part indicates the way in which a LAG player plays those hands.
The one and only objective of a LAG player is to outplay opponents and to keep everyone guessing what cards they are holding.
Playing Like a LAG
LAG players raise pre-flop with a large variety of hands. As a LAG player you should play both suited and non-suited connectors, as well as with pocket pairs, from various positions at the table.
By using this aggressive style to raise and 3-bet your opponents, you should take down lots of pots without even having to see a flop. Bear in mind that this way of playing isn’t for the timid, tight or faint of heart player. It requires a huge serving of courage with an equal side of fearlessness to the point of being almost reckless.
For example  a LAG player is very capable of open-raising with a hand like 7h-5h from middle position. If they are 3-bet from another player, they might call.  A nice juicy flop like 9h-6h-4d will have them salivating. Against any over pair they are  56:44 to win. In a heads up situation they are probably leading out. In multi-way pots they might check-raise, if they believe that they can get more money into the pot that way.
Take the same scenario but the flop comes down 10s-7h-2d. In a heads up scenario, the LAG player may lead out into the pot, deducing that their opponent has a hand line A-K or A-Q. If called, they will continue to bet middle pair, as long as no scare cards turn or river. If 3-bet on the flop, they are inclined to even 4-bet their hand – believing it to be the best.
The unpredictability of a LAG’s post-flop play coupled with the uncertainty of their starting hands will often get other players to fold well before showdown. As a LAG player your best possible opponents are TAG (Tight-Aggressive) players. This type of player has one major Achilles’ heel – they tend to overvalue their starting hands after the flop. So, if you out-flop their big pair with an unusual two pair, expect to be paid off.
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Defending Against LAG Players
Beating a loose aggressive player is going to be a two-part approach. You first need to be able to beat the winning LAG players, and then you also need to be able to defeat the losing LAG players. As you might imagine, taking on the losing LAG players is the easiest of the two. You are going to need some guts and brains to beat an inventive loose aggressive player, while you can simply value bet and call down lightly against the loosing LAGs.
Winning LAG players are going to make you feel helpless in some situations. You are going to end up making some calls after much agony just to find out that you were crushed the whole time. By that same token, however, you will make some painful calls where you expect the worst but were actually dominating from the get go. The thing about loose aggressive players is that they will make you sweat it out each step of the way. Obviously you will want to be as comfortable and confident in your decisions as possible, but LAG players just aren’t going to accommodate this desire.
To beat a loose aggressive player you will need to have strong hand reading skills and the ability to effectively pick apart a line. In other words, you are going to need to be good at the game you are playing. There just isn’t another way to put it. If you aren’t a winning player at your limit, beating a LAG opponent is not going to be easy to do.
A losing loose aggressive player is the polar opposite of a winning LAG player. You will not need to be a poker wiz to take down these opponents with relative ease. For the most part, it is going to go one of two different ways. You can either let the other player take control of the hand while sitting back and letting them hand you their chips, or you can be the aggressor and let them call of their stack. Neither approach is necessarily better than the other and both are dependent upon the specific hand they relate to.
If you are in position and are getting bet into, just keep stringing the losing LAG player along, making raises where it is necessary to get their entire stack in the middle. If you are out of position and know that a certain player is prone to coming over the top of your bets or simply calling you down lightly, start firing away. Beating a weak LAG player is one of the easiest things to do in the game. Loose aggressive players serve as the king of the fish and will pad your bankroll nicely over the long run.
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Steve Carr

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