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Imagine a table full of loose fishy players which call preflop way too much and don't really adjust against different open raise sizing's. The general approach would be to tighten up and only play strong hands preflop with a bigger opening sizing than general, say TT+, AK from utg with 6bb. Does this make sense? Wouldn't it be better too loosen up in this setting to play many more hands against weak opponents and leverage our postflop edge (despite the fact that we most probably have the positional disadvantage in a multiway pot)? Another disadvantage I can see with tightening up is that we cannot hold the nuts on low connected boards, e.g. 742r, given the fact that we never openraise with 77,44,22. Even on Q72, we might hold QQ, but all the other opponents could hold 77,22, which are double the amount of sets. So how could we ever defend against someone who raises us on 742r and fire turn and river? In order to be not exploited, we would have to call down with AA on such a board an vs this action, which seems odd to me.

2 Answers 2

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the common wisdom as I understand it is basically tighten up in loose game, loosen IE, play more aggressively in tight games

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I want to agree with Jon's answer, so I won't post what he did, think of this answer as a complimentary addition to what he added. In some regards think of it as some questions to answer and ask yourself before you decide on opening or tightening your range.

It really comes down to how much money you have behind you, your level of play and how comfortable you are at outplaying them post flop. To be very blunt, tighter range will make it less of a variance and you can grind it out long term, looser style while may get a lot of money quickly here is much more heavy on the variance side.

You should absolutely not play a much looser style if any of the following fit (in my opinion):

  1. You don't have the bank roll to take multiple shots - If you can't afford to be felted and re-buy multiple times don't bother playing looser as you're massively increasing your variance. I'm sure many of us have seen people blow a large chunk of their bankroll on a game because they were the 'better' player and trying to get unstuck. If you can't afford the buy-ins, some nights just no matter what, you won't win. Looser styles in these situations where you're not able to afford it is throwing good money after bad.
  2. The players are so bad that they genuinely don't understand the looser style or more aggressive approach or the better play we are capable of. There is no point in being to smart and playing a level at which the players don't understand. If they are incapable of folding why bother getting to the river with 1 pair as an example when you know they can't fold and you can wait for a much better spot. So really just keep the players in mind and don't play at a level they're incapable of understanding.
  3. Don't play loose for the sake of it. By this I mean you shouldn't just play every hand because we're the better player, we should still play good ranges for positions. Sure we can open our range up, but it's maybe not a great idea to call any bet with any hand in any position. We should still let our position, pot odds, probabilities, etc dictate our play.
  4. You can't handle bad beats or extreme variance. Some people don't like risk as much as others. Playing a higher variance will increase this, if you can't handle and accept that just don't play like that.
  5. You haven't given any thought to who you're playing and just playing looser because you're perceiving them as fish.

Poker doesn't really have absolute answers, because people are all different, with their own quirks. I think, as I included some addition thoughts to consider along with Jon's answer, a better way to approach these situations is be aware of the table, where you are, what you're comfortable with and adjust accordingly. Not every bad player plays the same, some are incapable of folding, others are terrified of reaching the river without the nuts. We should always adjust and play accordingly to who we're playing.

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