Like a lion waiting to attack prey, tight aggressive poker players are patient, but deadly!
Tight Aggressive Poker (TAG Poker)
The poker world, much like the real world is an ever changing place. New moves, strategy and technology shape ideas that can change the way poker is played. There are some things though that are a mainstay and no amount of technology or innovation will change that. One of these is the tight aggressive style being one of the most profitable styles for low stakes poker. This article will highlight and explain why tight aggressive poker still wins.
Beginner Texas Hold’em Question
What does TAG mean in poker?
“TAG” is the shortened definition of tight aggressive. To be a TAG or tight aggressive means to play few hands but play them aggressively. It essentially means you are the aggressor when you enter the pots you play.
Maths edge: playing fewer hands
Players at lower stakes make the mistake of playing too many hands. This is not a winning strategy for any stakes of poker. You will run into premium hands too often and be fighting an uphill battle trying to outplay opponents who have strong hands. Please note, I am not referring to Loose Aggressive (LAG) which can be a profitable strategy. I am referring to playing like 50% of hands or more at full rung.
Playing fewer hands will give you a mathematical edge on your opponents. It stands to reason that if you are playing better hands, you are more likely to have top pair or a better kicker. This edge can’t be emphasized enough at low stakes. It’s one of the core factors that will separate winning and losing players.
Aggressive poker wins
Being aggressive means you are going to win more pots you contest. Whether by winning it uncontested before the flop or after the flop, more pots can be won when you are betting and raising. In the 15 years I’ve played poker, I’ve never heard of anyone who wins in the long term adopting a passive style of poker. Every professional I’ve spoken with, every book I’ve read and every video I’ve watched have all recommended aggressive poker. The amount of hands you play is less relevant than the fact you need to be aggressive in poker. Poker is a battle and passive poker does not win battles.
More successful bluff rate
One of the best consequences of employing a tighter style of poker is the way you can pull off bluffs better. Playing a looser brand of poker is more fun but also gets you caught more. Tight aggressive poker gives you a solid image. People will believe you. With the right balance, this is a fantastic image to have. This means you can raise more liberally, particularly on the button and still get respect. A successful bluff rate doesn’t just mean the big bluff representing big overpair on a low board. It also means having a success steal rate or a high continuation bet success rate too.
Easier decisions & less mistakes
Poker players don’t like being out of the comfort zone or awkward spots. This is where big mistakes can be made. The risk of this is significantly reduced when you are playing premium hands and the first in bettor. A tight aggressive poker style means you won’t be playing hands like J 7 offsuit and wondering what to do on a 10-7-5-6 board. When you are playing stronger hands, you will typically be hitting top pair type hands. This makes decisions quite straightforward. This is music to the ears of beginners and intermediate players.
Downsides to TAG Poker
I want to provide a balanced article and provide all the information on this style of poker. TAG poker comes with limitations too. There are a couple below.
Playing this style means people can read you a little easier than if you played more hands. Consider a flop of 2d 5d 6s. A capable opponent will recognise this board is unlikely to hit your range of hands. Sure, you can have an overpair or possibly a set, but that’s it. Please note though, there is a big difference between TAG poker and being a nit. A nit plays far fewer hands and not necessarily aggressively either.
It’s great to have c bets and bluffs work, but the downside to this is that you may not get full value with your strong hands. Don’t worry too much though, low stakes poker is littered with bad players that still pay you off.
Tight aggressive poker is one of the best strategies you can employ at low stakes. You may be a little predictable, but most players at low stakes don’t care and still make mistakes. Playing this style allows you to win more pots you contest, steal more from late position and manipulate pots the way you want.
As you develop as a player and move up the stakes, you can incorporate more hands and creative plays, but at low stakes TAG poker is winning poker.
If you are a low stakes player keen to improve your TAG style, feel free to book a hand history review session with us below. Our Head Coach will review your play and offer 1 to 1 advice, specific for you, designed to help you improve.
Featured Photo Source: Freepik