Poker progression refers to the level a player goes through as they increase their skill. Are you a fish or a hybrid? Read more to find out.

Poker Progression: Which Evolution Are You?

As with many sports and hobbies, a beginner usually goes through the same poker progression throughout their journey. They start as fish and eventually become a hybrid, utilizing aggression and tight plays.

As a quick overview, here’s the rundown of the said progress. It begins with:

  • Fish
  • Nit
  • TAG
  • LAG
  • Hybrid

Now, everyone isn’t strictly following this progression. Some players may skip becoming a nit and goes straight to a TAG competitor. Others stay in the TAG department and are shy to employ hybrid gameplay.

With that said, let’s define each for a clearer poker progression.


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Poker Progression: How Poker Player Evolves Over Time

1. Fish

A fish is a term used to describe an experienced player. Depending on the circle you’re playing, it might be impolite to use the term around newbies.

Experience players often go after a fish as they’re easy pickings. They have awful plays, a small range, and their bet sizing is all over the place.

For instance, a fish often limps preflop instead of raising. A fish is also playing at least 40% of their hands. If you spot this player, try and target them to increase your winnings.

Conversely, if you consider yourself a fish and want to improve your poker game, there are a lot of resources you can read online. Always take the time to consume these poker tips for advanced players as it’ll help you evolve as a player. 

2. Nit

A nit is an overly tight player. They don’t play a lot of hands. And when they do, it’s when they’re holding monsters like AA or KK.

While nit is still considered a lousy player, going through this phase is a healthy poker progression. If you went from a fish to nit, you have the discipline to fold questionable hands preflop. You aren’t calling 3-bets pre-flop only to fold when someone raises post-flop.

Veterans would usually exploit nits by employing an aggressive strategy. Once a nit has been identified, aggressive players would usually double-barrel to get the nit to fold their hand.

3. TAG

A TAG is someone playing tight aggressive poker. They only play a few hands. But when they do, they play them aggressively.

When playing against such players, tone down your aggressiveness a bit. But, again, a tag will only play if they have a strong hand. So get a feel of how they play.

A TAG is a comfortable place for you if you’re trying to improve your poker game from a nit standpoint. Play tight from a position and aggressively fire once you have a strong hand.

The problem is that a lot of players are TAGs. You should probably find another table if you’re playing with TAGs. There’s not much money to be had playing against them. You might as well look for some fish.

Or you could become a LAG.

4. LAG

Before becoming a LAG, you should have a solid TAG game. If not, a LAG gameplay is not for you. A LAG is someone with loose aggressive poker plays. They’re far more flexible and will apply pressure with many combinations.

Sometimes, bad LAGs are compared to an aggressive fish. But, on the contrary, a good LAG applies pressure when the situation calls for it. That includes their opponents betting predilections, their positions, and several more elements.

A LAG style is often advantageous during a heads-up pot. That’s doubly true if you’re at a table full of TAGs. You can apply pressure in certain areas and often steal pots from tighter players.

Of course, if you’re a LAG, you should also revert to a TAG from time to time. But when is that? Well, if your opponent is fighting back and refusing to roll over, tighten your play up a bit. If they’re 3bettors, you should also revert to a TAG.

5. Hybrid

If you decide to jump between a TAG and LAG, you’ve now become a hybrid. A player like this finds a lot of angles to attack. However, they also have a wide range that makes it difficult for other players to predict what they’re holding.

They’ll play as a TAG for a while only to employ a LAG strategy out of nowhere. Then they revert to TAG when the situation calls for it.

Tracking Your Poker Progression

If you identify yourself as someone in the early stages of your poker progression journey, try to consume more poker content. It might be tempting to jump from a fish to a LAG.

But as mentioned earlier, you should only become a LAG if you grasp TAG gameplay well. Poker players are constantly improving. And with the game evolving with every passing year, it’s more crucial to solidify your fundamentals before ascending the ladder. 

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Poker Progression: Which Evolution Are You?

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