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Playing against LAGs

JerseyJay Posts: 181Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Hello SOP Forum,

I just sent Bart an email, but figured I'd open it up to the forum too in case anyone else had anything to add.

Have you ever covered playing against a LAG? If so, I can just start by listening to that podcast(s). I have access to most of the Dueces Cracked podcasts. Also, if you know a good thread on TPT, or elsewhere (books, vids, etc) lemmeno. I posted something on TPT already hoping someone can point me in the direction of some content.

My specific goal is to play optimally against 1 or 2 of the LAGgier players in my pool. I play 5-5 ($1k max) on the east coast, taking shots at 5-10, and will sometimes drop to a 2-5 game if it is deep. I am a winning player. Here's my general situation:

-It's usually only one at the table at a time. There are 2-3 characters I am thinking of specifically.
-They open wide, from all positions. One seems to like to open from early position for some reason. He plays bigger usually, so I don't think he cares about the stakes. They 3 bet, but not a ton actually.
-Most times, they get at least one caller, usually multiple. This bugs me. The players at the table definitely notice, but their reaction is to start calling lighter. I don't think this is optimal, because the LAG can remain the aggressor, and takes down a lot of raised, uncontested flops. My thought is to shrink my calling range and open my 3 betting range to something like all pairs >88, and suited connectors >89, and most broadway cards. Something like that. Maybe make my 3 bet sizing a little smaller like 2.5x. Thoughts?
-Where's the best spot at the table to sit? At first, I was trying to get exactly left of LAG, but recently reconsidered because I actually like to open a lot of pots, and the LAG was stopping me from doing this. So I ended up playing tighter, and 3 betting more, increasing my variance, shortening my stack size, and generally not playing MY game. I certainly don't want him on my left. So maybe just as far away as possible? Also, there aren't enough 5-5 games to just get up. Thoughts?
-It's worth mentioning these guys aren't fish. I am not sure if they are winning players, but they are experienced, give people fits, and have big swings. They make decent reads and are aware of their image. I actually like them at the table because they induce action, but I tread carefully when in pots directly with them. Very Harry-esque.

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated. If you haven't already covered this, it might be a good idea for a topic. Of course, any hand with Harry involved comes to mind. I subscribe to crush live poker also. I recently saw the ep where almost all hands involved Harry. Good stuff, and certainly relevant to my issue.

Comments

  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    I prefer to sit across these type of players rather than to their direct left. If you're to their direct left, it won't be profitable for you to be flatting them frequently if they're good and aggressive, so you actually end up play very few hands when they open frequently. Also, if you sit directly to their left and you 3-bet them light, more often than not, you're going to be stuck playing a bloated pot HU against a good aggressive player.

    If you're across from them and you see that they have folded, then you can play your regular game against the rest of the fish at the table again. And you have squeeze opportunities if they get a lot of callers.

    Don't flat them too much with speculative hands when they're good and aggressive and have the betting lead unless you're planning to make a lot of moves post-flop, and they'll actually fold to you when you do so.

    Tighten up your flatting range but start 3-betting as a squeeze, which is easier if you're across from them (so there's more dead money) with a polarized range. If they like to raise from EP with weaker hands, they're perfect targets for this kind of move.
    If they're good players and they know you 3-bet light, they may 4-bet sometimes, so don't 3-bet them with anything like 99 or AQ. Just flat with those.

    As for sizing, make it the smallest possible to get the job done but use the same sizing no matter what you have. I.E. if they make it 4BB and get two callers, and they'll fold when you make it 18BB and they'll fold, that's big enough. If not, then make it bigger, say a pot sized 22BB and see what happens.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    To sum up:

    Get a seat across from the LAG instead of his direct left

    Flat less with speculative hands

    But I guess you can flat with small PP or suited aces if they get several other callers and you're all deep enough

    3-bet with your best hands (premiums)
    Flat with good hands (semi-premiums)
    3-bet with playable less-than-premiums sometimes, but obviously not every single time you have one of these hands or you'll be unbalanced in frequency. Squeeze preferred.
  • JerseyJay Posts: 181Subscriber
    Awesome, thanks claire
  • grindbler Posts: 131Member
    I think it's important to try to figure out what good LAGs are trying to accomplish; it becomes much easier to counter-act it when you could play their style as good, or better than they can...
    sounds like you have a pretty good grip on it; not letting them get in your way of maintaining your own game...Not over-adjusting makes sense because this is what a good LAG wants you to do. find out what that is, and do the opposite...

    basically, besides getting ppl to start calling down lighter, a GLAG is generally trying to get ppl to also blow up and play back with marginal/scant values. Also, to get tons of free cards, and to not get value bet into lightly. Ultimately, they want to force big mistakes when they have a big hand, but when you realize that even though a GLAG is loose preflop, and on the flop, on the river they are super tight; ie. they have it, then the gig is up for them and their style vs. you.
    They are trying to get you to assume that they are also FOS when they put in the big monies, but they have it this time. just don't fall for it...
    Whats happening is they are willing to open lots of pots, often w/ poor values, and take the worse for it in the short run in them in order to build up an image that will play psychological trickery on you and force big mistakes... If you are impervious to this effect on your play vs. them, their over-active style will just start costing them with no upside attached to it.
    So, i think it makes sense to just stay patient, not look for spots to play back, just stay with your game plan for the most part; of course, you are going to be calling hands that you would fold vs. a tight player, or 3-betting, w/e... still, getting into a 'making it personal' mind-set against them will prolly end up working against you (another thing a LAG is looking for); If you can see what the LAG is really up too (and bad ones don't even know themselves), it becomes pretty easy to counter-act. It's funny when tight players start freaking about LAGs at their table, when it's pretty simple to deal with.
    If your not concerned about seeing flops cheaper, it shouldnt matter what a LAG is up to... actually, they tend to make the game better in general, because ppl will start making more mistakes/ start over-adjusting vs. everybody; and you can benefit from this as well vs. the tight players at the table too, without having to invest the seed $ that the LAG is. they are doing a job for you in a way, so take advantage.
    Also, it may be the case that even good LAGgery at a 9-10 handed table may just not be that profitable over the long-run at all?
    so, if they are trying to pull this off, and you know that its actually pretty simple to play around them, and deny them the fruits of their spewwing off (you over-adjusting and playing worse against them) then it's going to be profitable for you.
    Another potential weakness of the LAG is that they easily fall prey to leveling themselves; so, all the more reason to not play 'little dog' to them, and to play your big hands aggressively against them, and not worry about them folding... they can easily think that this is you finally having enough, and playing back... they can actually call off with pretty weak hands sometimes out of leveling themselves.
  • JerseyJay Posts: 181Subscriber
    Thanks. Thats good stuff. Playing a little loose preflop, but having it when the money goes in is something i like to do as well. Gotta be careful with that against a lag.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,089Subscriber
    I really don't like playing in games with good lags.. So if possible I would just move to another table. Why put yourself in this position if there are other softer games? That said if there are no other games or you are waiting for a table change then I agree completely with Claire's view. Give yourself some room between the LAG and other players. Your three bets will be more effective and the extra dead money in the pot is always good.

    If you know a LAG is at the table before you get there I would also buy in shorter.. LAGs will use their stack to get you off hands kind of like in PLO.. I limit this by having a shorter stack that they can't leverage.. Like Harry.. When he is at the table I will always buy in short, play TAG and really crimp his style.

    Wendy
  • JerseyJay Posts: 181Subscriber
    Thanks Wendy, but ugh, I hate playing short. I kind of like to use my stack against people too. The more I delve into this, the more I'm starting to think I am LAG, especially in late position. Maybe I should be asking, as a LAG, how do you combat another LAG at the table?
  • Fish Fryer Posts: 161Member
    wendy weissman said

    I really don't like playing in games with good lags.. So if possible I would just move to another table. Why put yourself in this position if there are other softer games? That said if there are no other games or you are waiting for a table change then I agree completely with Claire's view. Give yourself some room between the LAG and other players. Your three bets will be more effective and the extra dead money in the pot is always good.

    If you know a LAG is at the table before you get there I would also buy in shorter.. LAGs will use their stack to get you off hands kind of like in PLO.. I limit this by having a shorter stack that they can't leverage.. Like Harry.. When he is at the table I will always buy in short, play TAG and really crimp his style.

    Wendy
    Wendy,

    I think you are giving up great EV if you are moving from a table due to having a decent LAG there. So many players fail to react correctly and get themselves tilted against a LAG that the table becomes profitable if you are willing to be patient and value bet/play in position. You can always avoid playing against the LAG directly when you are not playing the top of your range, but the rest of the table will fail to adjust properly. This is actually one of my favorite types of tables to play on....the semi-tilted one.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,089Subscriber
    Zach Z-H said
    wendy weissman said

    I really don't like playing in games with good lags.. So if possible I would just move to another table. Why put yourself in this position if there are other softer games? That said if there are no other games or you are waiting for a table change then I agree completely with Claire's view. Give yourself some room between the LAG and other players. Your three bets will be more effective and the extra dead money in the pot is always good.

    If you know a LAG is at the table before you get there I would also buy in shorter.. LAGs will use their stack to get you off hands kind of like in PLO.. I limit this by having a shorter stack that they can't leverage.. Like Harry.. When he is at the table I will always buy in short, play TAG and really crimp his style.

    Wendy
    Wendy,

    I think you are giving up great EV if you are moving from a table due to having a decent LAG there. So many players fail to react correctly and get themselves tilted against a LAG that the table becomes profitable if you are willing to be patient and value bet/play in position. You can always avoid playing against the LAG directly when you are not playing the top of your range, but the rest of the table will fail to adjust properly. This is actually one of my favorite types of tables to play on....the semi-tilted one.

    Zach. I understand what you are saying. I really dont like variance and if I can reduce it I will. I am more confident now then I was even a few minths ago. but if a lag is a very good lag then I think he can be such that its not a good table. if he is a soso lag and as you say the other players start opening their ranges then it could be a great table.

    wendy
  • Mike Posts: 371Member
    Just wondering if anyone else has the same thoughts on playing vs a LAG as i do. I just 3b them a ton IP and stack off lighter. You will be surprised how badly players adjust to you adjusting to them. If you start 3b a high % of his opens hes gonna do 1 of 2 things.

    1) stop opening wide. He doesnt wanna keep opening and folding to your 3b so hes gonna play tight. Now you can play your normal game and can open at will.

    2) he will start spazzing. If you 3b him a ton hes gonna start 4b bluffing. Which is almost always bad. After i 3b the same villian a couple times i open up my stacking off range to like AT+/88. You will be surprised how often they will 4b shove on you with like j4s and shit like that. He will adjust by adding bluffs into his range. Instead of adjusting properly and just opening up his value range.

    Hope this helps... and isnt retarded.
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