The game I play most often lately is a $15-30 fixed limit Hold’em with a full kill (which makes it $30-60). The game is a very loose, aggressive game by average standards, far juicier than you’d find in an average Vegas game. There are quite a few fairly decent card players there, but even the better ones make some pretty substantial, simple mistakes. I’m going to write in this post and the next about these problems.
One of the main problems I see good players making in this game is raising too much pre-flop against loose players.
The game we play in is very loose, sometimes ridiculously so. When you have two to four players at the table who play about 50% of their hands, and who will call in the big blind with any two cards, and who go too far with marginal hands, you should not be often getting into spots playing aggressively against these players unless you actually have something.
But I see so many otherwise decent players making aggressive pre-flop raises with hands like QT or JT with several loose players still to act, or with a very loose player in the big blind. This would be acceptable strategy if you were against thinking, folding players, because a lot of your profit from playing these hands aggressively comes from players laying down hands pre-flop (fold equity, as it were). But if you’re just going to see the flop against one or two players whose ranges remain completely undefined, then you’re not putting yourself in a good spot.
If you’re in a hand with several loose players who you know are seeing a flop (maybe a couple limpers and a loose player in the big blind) then you could make a strong case for limping with many hands, including 99, TT, AJs, and AQ. A large part of the value of raising with these hands lies in their ability to just take down the money when everyone folds either pre-flop or on the flop; if you are certain that that’s not going to happen and the hand is going to be multi-way against loose players, then their value goes down a lot.