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Poker: playing against Loose-Passive players

Poker: playing against Loose-Passive players

Loose-passive players are always looking for an excuse to call. Usually having third pair is more than enough for them to make the call regardless of the texture of the board or of the action they have been facing on previous streets.

Poker players who adopt a loose-passive style can be extremely frustrating to play against but if you alter your tactics and use their weakness against them they will be the most profitable foe you face on a regular basis.

Loose-passive players are very easy to spot at the table. They are seen limping into pots - they even open-limp from any position - and they basically never raise unless they have an ultra-strong hand and they turn up on the river with all sorts of trash hands.

Where many players go wrong when faced with this opponent type is they attempt to bluff them and/or overestimate their own ability to get the loose-passive player to fold. So when should you bluff a weak-passive player? The word never rarely comes up in poker but this is one of those instances; you probably would not go far wrong if you never attempted to bluff a loose-passive. If one of these players has called a flop bet and a turn bet then he is almost always - think 99% - calling a river bet.

Loose-Passive Players Love To Call

Loose-passive players are always looking for an excuse to call. Usually having third pair is more than enough for them to make the call regardless of the texture of the board or of the action they have been facing on previous streets. Can you see why you should not try and bluff them from a hand? Good!

Using the same reasoning for not bluffing we can also see why they are often so profitable to play against. Since they love to call bets they are ripe for value-betting and value-betting to death. If you have top pair and a loose-passive has called your flop bet then feel free to go for three streets of value against them. The only time you should slow down when you are facing a loose-passive player is if they raise or check-raise a bet of yours. When a loose-passive raises your turn bet on a board reading Ad-6c-9c-8s then you can bet your bottom dollar Mr Loose-Passive is sat there with a hand such as 8c-7s, 10d-7h or some other completely random hand that has made at least two pair.

Over the weekend I played in the GUKPT Goliath tournament in Coventry, a £120 buy-in event that attracted a field of 1,945 players! Without being disrespectful to those who turned up and paid the buy-in, I would say at least 1,600 of them were pretty poor - three of them were on my table. One guy, who somehow managed right up until the 10th level of play, was one of the worse players I had ever seen. He was a typical loose-passive player who would have busted out in the first couple of levels had he not caught some lucky cards and the rest of the table had not paid him off.

In one hand he had called a raise from under the gun and then check-called on a Qs-Ad-5s flop in a four-way pot then came out betting when the 5h landed on the turn and again on the completely blank river. Low and behold he turned over Kd-5d for trip fives and he won a decent pot.

Later on he called off 75% of his stack with 6h-5d on a flop containing three hearts and obviously ran into the nuts. But despite this players failed to extract value from him and instead paid him off handsomely time and time again.

Swim With The Fishes

Along with value-betting loose-passive players to death and avoiding paying them off you should be attempting to play as many pots as you can against them, especially if you can get heads-up against them. Suited connectors, unsuited connectors, suited aces, all pairs and your usual selection of hands are all great to play against a loose-passive player as they can make huge hands that are going to be called off with much worse holdings. When a loose-passive player limps into the pot and you have position on him then you should raise with any hand that you would usually just call with. This is so you increase your chances of playing against the "fish" and play against him in position in a heads-up pot.

However, you should be aware of observant players on your table who will try to re-isolate you. If an observant player sees you have raised a loose-passive player they will know you have potentially done this with a much weaker hand than you would normally raise with. They can then put in a raise of their own knowing full well you will not have a hand that can withstand such action and they will help themselves to a nice little uncontested pot. Should you find yourself being re-isolated on a regular basis then the only form of defence is to attack and come over the top of the habitual re-isolator.

All-in-all you should want to play against loose-passive players as much as you can because although they will turn up with all sorts of crazy hands and frustrate you plenty of times, the fact they are payoff wizards makes them ideal opponent types.

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