Tight Aggressive Poker Style
Learn how to play TAG… practice it… embrace it… make use of it. And then when they do connect to the board they make it painfully obvious, so it is pretty easy to not give them action. However, this player is not very aggressive, and this works against him. Here are the basics of what they mean, which poker styles are best, worst and why. Successful TAG players know how to value their strong starting hands… but perhaps more importantly, they know more often than not when they are up against a superior holding. Bet out with those 4 flushes on the flop, or even raise with them to get a free card on the turn every now and then. A TAGfish tries to learn to play better poker.
Aggression vs Passivity at the Poker Table
Click here to learn more. Another situation that often calls for a measure of passivity, which tight-aggressive players frequently overplay, is on an Axx flop as the pre-flop button raiser.
Doug opens Q6o on the button and gets called by both the small and big blind. The flop comes Ace-high and both blinds check over to Doug. Additionally, Doug has a number of hands like JsTd in his range, which have better backdoor potential than Q6o. Consequently, a bet with the weak backdoor potential of his actual hand would be over-bluffing.
You want to think about how many category 3 hands you have. Finally, in contrast with the above examples, Doug showcases a spot that many players incorrectly play passively, which leaves them open to being exploited in a very specific way.
After opening pre-flop with pocket jacks, Doug c-bets his overpair and flush-draw on the flop. Doug then explains that you should generally be betting the 4-flush turn, too, instead of trying to delay the bet until the river. If we check back the turn and bet the river, our opponent might suspect that we do not have the top of our range, and therefore could put us in a tough spot by check-raising as a bluff.
One possible solution to the river imbalance would be to play all your strong flushes as checks on the turn, thus keeping your river range as strong as possible. However, this could be much worse line in the long run, since by checking with everything, including your Ah and Kh hands, you will likely extract less value. If someone perceives you as a passive player, the chances are that you are doing something wrong either that or your opponent is donating a lot of money. The important facet of aggressive play is timing.
Much like you need to be selective with the actual hands that you are playing, proper TAG strategy will force you into picking the right time to make moves. Using the K3 example above, a late position raise would be well timed aggression A 4-bet out of position against a tight player, however, would be the exact opposite.
Aggression is not something that should be implemented on its own merit. You should always have a defined reason for making any given play. The big mistake that players tend to make with TAG styles of play is that they take shots in the dark. If they see a funky hand that they think would be a deceptive raise, they will 3-bet and often times find themselves in a very difficult position. You need to know why you are raising, what you are expecting from a raise, and how you are going to react to the next move s that your opponents make.
If you cannot mark these three considerations off your checklist, you shouldn't be making an aggressive play. The goal of TAG play is to take down as many uncontested pots as possible and to play in the most deceptive manner that you can get away with. Uncontested pots are one of the best ways to win in poker for a number of reasons. First, you will not need to worry about having an actual made hand. If you go to showdown, you will need to be able to beat whatever your opponent is holding.
This is going to be an obvious hurdle if you have nothing at all. Second, you will not have to worry about any further streets or changes in game plans. You've still got one more player to act behind you and if he's any good, he can make your life a living hell. That player can three-bet with impunity whenever you call with your weak, speculative hand, he can call and steal your post-flop position and he can punish you after the flop. A TAGfish thinks every time he makes the nuts he's going to win a stack.
He thinks if he calls from the blinds with a pocket pair and nails a set, he's going to win an opponent's whole stack every time.
So he calls with his speculative hands post-flop, check-folds when he misses and, when he finally makes that huge hand, he makes his opponent fold.
He bleeds all his money trying to hit that hand and then when he does hit, he never makes that money back. He knows he can't limp Q9o upfront and expect to show a profit. He knows AK needs to be raised for value, etc. But once the flop comes, his mistakes start to compound. Knowing when to fold pre-flop is easy. But knowing when to ditch top pair, bad kicker isn't. Knowing when to double barrel and when to triple barrel is hard. A TAGfish plays his own cards too often and the situation and his opponents not nearly enough.
A TAGfish gets caught up in a tough decision and thinks, "Man, this spot sucks. What the hell do I do? Really, it's not what he just did that put him in that spot; it's what he did earlier in the hand.
He doesn't have a plan in mind for the hand. He just acts and figures it out from there. He plays reactive poker instead of proactive poker. A TAGfish doesn't tilt in the true "five-bet ship 58o" sense of the word. But when he's losing, he definitely doesn't play his best. He slips into auto pilot. And, worst of all, he plays far too long.
A TAGfish loves trying to get unstuck and will play all day trying to get unstuck - all the while playing C-game poker. Sometimes the best possible play won't come to you right away.
But if you do your best to think about the benefits of each possible decision, you'll be making more good decisions and less bad ones. If you want to win more money - and stop being a TAGfish - that's exactly where you need to start. Thanks for the post! I needed to realize where I stand, and I have a few TAGfish qualities - namely not thinking about my opponents thoughts on my hand, and my post-flop game isn't on par with my pre-flop game.
Hopefully change is abound and I'll start getting even better results! I build a reputation of winning every hand I raise then bluff. I generally promote the notion I am a tight aggressive player by being tight aggressive for the first wins. After my reputation is established and I have capital, I bluff more and they still think I'm a tag. They assume I have something after a while. Then someone will catch on, but at that point I already took so much of their cash they can't break my bank.
The best method is to alternate from extreme tight say 5 bet with only aa-qq-jj in position to playing hands like off 45 56 suited and the just flat calling with ak utg. This makes post flop way easy because you need the goods to continue on it's not that hard.
The bigger cards you need junk flops like j or set's with your overs.