How to play profitably at a loose table?
Today, I just tried playing No Limit Hold'em for real money
at my friend's house. This is also my first time playing any form of poker. I've been studying the game for quite a long time before playing for real money.
The game was 8 players, $0.20/$0.40 blinds and everyone bought in for $20 (50 big blinds). I managed to win exactly $27 (profit) at the end of the session. But, I felt that I still played poorly despite playing against players I think are fishes.
So, the table was very loose-passive especially pre-flop.
Often there will be 5 players seeing the flop. If I raise pre-flop even on the button with a reasonable hand, those that already limped almost always called my raise. My raise was always 3x the big blind +1 for each limper. So, on average if I raised pre-flop, 3 players including me will see the flop.
Sometimes, they lead out on the flop although I was the aggressor. If I totally missed, I would just fold which I'm not sure when I should flop and when I shouldn't. I just feel like they can often be bluffing. If I try to do a c-bet when I miss, I often get called and just give up on the turn unless I'm drawing to something. Hands often go to the showdown as everyone just doesn't believe everyone when someone bets the river.
Here's what I thought after the session.
- I probably should never raise pre-flop unless I have a strong pocket pair such as AA, KK, QQ as these hands are very likely to stay as the best hand on the flop. If I have other hands that I want to see a flop with, I should just call. However, if I play like this, the others would know that when I raise pre-flop, it means I have strong pocket pairs.
- I should never bluff.
So, what is the optimal way to play at this kind of tables? This seems like loose-passive pre-flop but loose-aggressive post-flop table.
Side Question: Are the situations the same when it's 9-handed folded to the button versus 6-handed folded to the button? In 9-handed, it would seem that the blinds are more likely to have something, but maths doesn't seem to agree.