Of the 6 major player types, TAG is the most important. The average grinder employs a TAG poker strategy and many players should learn a TAG style before doing anything else. TAG is an abbreviation for “Tight Aggressive” and is in between a nit and a LAG. In this guide you will learn what a TAG is, get ideas on their ranges, and get some easy-to-use advice for beating them.
What Is A TAG?
Each poker player has basically 2 decisions when the action gets to him – will he fold the hand he’s dealt, or play it? If he decides to play, then he has one other decision – will he call the amount of the current bet, or will he raise it up?
Each player has his own decision-making process for deciding which hands they are going to play and which they will fold. Some players will play every single hand as long as there is no raise (“let’s see a flop, you can’t win if you don’t play!”). Other players will always fold certain hands but always play others, regardless of the action before them (“deuce-four is my favorite hand”!). Still others will use other criteria besides their cards for deciding what hands to play – things like their position relative to the blinds or their likely opponents in the hand. As your poker skills improve your decision matrix for choosing which hands to play gets simpler.
Poker is a technical game based on probabilities. This makes it challenging to learn for a couple reasons. Let me illustrate the idea with an example.
One of the biggest roadblocks to poker success is that humans have a spectacularly poor intuition for how probabilities work. This is both an impediment to developing sound strategy, as well as a significant mental strain for all but the most resilient players.
The ability to identify and read poker ranges is one of the most important skills a player can have.
Poker is a game of incomplete information and we will almost never know exactly which two hole cards our opponent has. But with logical deduction and strong technical knowledge, we can build our opponent’s range and use that information to make even more profitable plays.
What Are Poker Ranges?
A range is a collection of all the possible hands a player can have right this moment. Ranges exist both preflop and postflop, and can vary widely since tight players will have fewer hands in their range and looser players will have many starting hands in their range.
You always begin by building your opponent’s range preflop and you continue to refine that range as they take action throughout the hand.
Want my FREE preflop ranges? Answer a few questions and get ranges tailored to your game. Get started here →
Today I want to talk to you about studying poker in 2022 and share my study routine with you. This is especially useful if you don’t already have one, but if you do have a study routine, you can take bits and pieces of this process and improve your own.
The thing that we have to keep in mind is that we’re not going to become the best poker player in the world overnight, or in a week, or even in a month. It’s going to take long periods of time. Even just becoming the best poker player you can be is going to take a long period of time, but we can break poker study into week-long sprints and we can say, “Okay, this week I’m going to try to fix this leak, the next week another, the next week another, etc.” When we do that and continue improving our game and decreasing our poker leaks, we’re going to become MUCH better players over time.
One of the most profitable plays available to you in a game where preflop raises tend to get one or more callers is the squeeze. Done correctly, squeezing can pick up lots of uncontested pots preflop, even when you have marginal hands.
But squeeze in the wrong spots, and you will bleed chips quickly.
Folding is the least sexy topic in poker. Folding is just so…final. Your cards hit the muck, you concede the pot to your opponent, and you’re off to the next hand. But the honest truth is that poker players fall into two main categories:
Players that fold far too often
Players that fold far too rarely
There is a third type of player though. A rare breed of player that folds a correct amount of the time and keeps their continuance frequencies and ranges during a poker hand right on track.
The average poker player goes through a very similar path of progression.
They start as a fish who calls too often and folds too rarely. Then they get punished for that and eventually learn that they need to fold some of those junk hands. And then eventually they learn how to put those junk hands back into their ranges, at least sometimes, in smart spots to generate extra profit. The issue is that most TAG and Nit players are stuck in the middle – folding too often for their own good. So either push play and/or continue reading and let’s break this down…
Poker contains a lot of repetitive math, especially when studying poker hands away from the table. While you can use software to do a lot of this math, sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned spreadsheet is the best way to visualize and play with the numbers. So to save you a tremendous amount of time, I put together this pack of my spreadsheets that you are free to use while exploring spots!
This is a name-your-own price download, so if money is super-tight, you can enter $0 and get it for free. But if you throw a few chips my way, not only would I massively appreciate it, but I’ll also give you a free PRO video AND over $200 in discounts. No pressure either way – I just wanted you to know your options 😃