There are a number of online web sites which are notorious for the loose standard of their players (see our 888 poker review for one) but sometimes a tight aggressive player can find that they experience more losing sessions on a loose site than on their regular tables. Stories of how premium cards get crushed by morons who should never have been involved in the hand frequent poker forums and lead to accusations of cheating by the sites. However it is not them who are out of order, but your game.
Although it is generally acknowledged that you should play tight poker on a loose table and relax your opening hand selection in a tight game, there are instances when just waiting for AA or KK to hook a fish is not going to work. You could wait for hours for your premium hands to come along, only to pick up a small pre-flop pot or have your pocket aces cracked by a gutshot draw. Even if you can get in, double up and get out, there are more effective ways of crushing a loose table.
One of the advantages of playing on loose tables is that pots odds are more frequently in your favour. If you are seated in late position with low ranking suited connectors, it can be beneficial to limp in with cards you may normally fold and see whether you connect with the flop. On the occasions that you catch a straight or flush, you have to play this hand far more aggressively than you might normally in order to reduce the number of players on the table that might collect with a higher ranking draw by the time the hand reaches showdown.
Other hands which connect – such as top pair top kicker – also need to be played more aggressively than usual. On some of these loose sites, players will draw on anything and you have to make it expensive for them to call you when the odds are in your favour. Even if you only collect small pots as other players fold, you will be doing it more frequently as, with a larger number of players trying to get to the next card as economically as possible, the odds will be in your favour more often. Of course, if you are still called on your oversized bets, the chances are that you will walk away with bigger pots on the occasions that your hand holds up, which will compensate for the few times when your TPTK gets turned over.
As well as increasing the aggression, certain strategies you may usually rely on have to be abandoned altogether. For example there is no point in slow-playing a hand unless you have the absolute nuts on the flop, because you will find that most of the table will be still involved at the river – and one of them will catch a hand to beat your flopped set. Continuation betting is not as effective of a loose table as it is during a more constricted game, and bet leveraging is pointless because nobody else will understand what the hell you are doing!
After a while, it will dawn on your opponents that you are going to win more frequently when you get involved in a hand, and they will either leave the table to be replaced by more fish, or tighten up themselves – in which case it is time for you to pocket your winnings and go find another table to play on. Provided you do not become a looser player yourself, making slight adjustments to your game and playing more aggressively is the key to crushing a loose table.