Loose passive players – how to adjust

Before I continue on with my learning curve series, I’d like to share a little analysis with you. In the previous article I mentioned the flaws of thinking purely logical. Especially for players, who think they understand poker (but in reality they don’t). One of the great misconceptions spreading over these players is the correct adjustments against loose-passive players. Or haven’t you heard “never bluff the calling station”, “you should valuebet thin against loose passive players” before? So let’s get a bit deeper into it. For the purposes of this, we’re going to use a hand I played just this afternoon.


Full Tilt Poker $5/$10 Limit Hold’em – 6 players – View hand 2003671

DeucesCracked Poker Videos Hand History Converter

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is BTN with 7 of clubs 6 of diamonds

3 folds, Hero raises, 1 fold, BB calls

Flop: (4.5 SB) 4 of spades 7 of spades T of hearts (2 players)

BB checks, Hero bets, BB calls

Turn: (3.25 BB) 9 of clubs (2 players)

BB checks, Hero bets, BB calls

River: (5.25 BB) T of diamonds (2 players)

BB checks, Hero ?

Villain is huge loose-passive player, my reads on him so far: HU always slowplays strong hands until the river, and basically never seen him raise or donk on any streets except the river (that’s actually not true, I saw some turn agression from him in multiway pots without an agressor, but that’s an extremely different context). So from the get-go we’re going to make these really simple assumptions:

Villain will call a 100% preflop (that’s actually not an exaggeration, he coldcalled ~80% of the times)

  • Villain will never raise the flop or the turn, just call or fold.
  • Villain will call the flop and the turn with a pair or better, every actual draw, A hi, overcard+BDdraw combinations.
  • Villain will surely call or raise strong A his or better on the river
  • Villain might call weak A his and strong K his
  • Villain will fold all the rest.
  • We will bet/fold river, if get raised.

So as you probably already knew, this river is a crystal clear valuebet against most regulars, given they rarely have a 7x, or overpair+ hand, and at least some will c/r a 9 on the turn. Also we raised from the BU, therefore we can have all kind of barreling hands that all missed on this river, therefore a reg might even pay us off with a bare K hi here. But what about a loose passive player? Let’s see how his range looks like on the river.

Made by Combonator

It’s pretty telling, isn’t it. Against his non-folding range we only have 51% equity (and some of it is only chopping), and if he folds just KJ or KQ, we’re putting in money behind. And although I said earlier, that some regulars will pay us off with K his, I think it may be less true in case of a loose-passive chaser kind of player, since he will tend to evaluate his hand much more in the absolute sense, rather than looking at my range. Therefore what was a crystal clear valuebet against a regular, became a marginal check back versus the loose passive guy, you should allegedly valuebet thinner.

How about not bluffing the calling station? Well, we get 5.25:1 on a bet, meaning we should succeed 16% of the times. If he’s calling KQ and KJ, he still folds 23.5%, meaning we have a profitable bluff. (Not meaning we should always bluff, given that checking back may have a higher EV with e.g. a Q hi.) This guy will definitely fold more than the regular, who semibluffed all his draws, folded more of his weak hands on the flop, and will probably show down much looser than this guy.

I’m pretty happy in retrospect, that I decided to check back the river, although I really wasn’t sure, given it’s a snap vbet against a thinking player, but keep in mind, that I had really strong reads about this player. If I would’ve seen him donk or check/raise once for value, I probably bet this river for value, given the possibility of him having a stronger hand decreases a lot.

So that’s it for today, I hope I could show you guys something new and interesting, or at least out of the ordinary. Will continue my learning curve series soon…

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