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Poker is a game full of players who act very loosely, throwing their chips around with little regard to proper strategy and the odds. These players are normally not very dangerous on their own; indeed, individually they are easily taken advantage of, although they will occasionally hit a big hand that damages your stack. Like most other categories where individual units aren’t dangerous on their own, these loose players are even more dangerous in a group.

The standard strategy for dealing with a loose player who makes a lot of calls is to tighten up your hand selection and only play premium hands. This is a good way to improve your own odds of winning a hand when you decide to enter the pot. However, when you have a table full of people who frequently call your raises, your odds of winning drop drastically, as each additional player in the hand reduces your chances of winning even further.

The basic strategy is still valid, though. Tighten up your hand selection and wait for a big hand to take advantage of the loose calls from your opponents. When you are holding an upaired hand such as A-K or A-Q, you may want to merely call preflop, that way if you don’t hit your pair on the flop you can retreat from the hand without risking more chips with a standard raise. With so many callers there will be a good chance the pot will go to the flop unraised and even if the pot is raised, the player raising will just be doing your work for you, so calling instead of raising is a low-risk situation.

Now, for an example of such a situation. Recently, I was playing in a nine player sit and go on Poker Stars. Every player at the table seemed to be a calling station. On one hand where I made my standard raise of 3x the big blind, I was faced with not one or two, but six callers. At a nine player table, seven players saw the flop after a raise. This was an astounding collective of loose play. After this hand, I tightened up my play considerably, only playing premium hands like A-A, A-K, and K-K. The worst hand I played during this time was A-J. With my tight play, and a little bit of luck, I was able to rebuild my stack and take out several of my opponents when my hands of A-K or A-Q were dominating their hands of A-8 or K-10.

The more loose players you are facing off against, the tighter you have to be. This is because when there are only a couple of loose players you can play more hands when you’ve got good position relative to the loose players, and if they do get a hand that even they won’t play, then you can be a bit more adventurous. When a whole table is loose, though, you have to tighten up considerably lest you find yourself facing unpalatable decisions.

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