TAG Poker Game Plan: Is it an Effective Strategy?
A TAG poker strategy was one of the most popular playstyles a decade ago. However, with the evolution of poker and the rise of streaming and video content platforms, TAG poker has fallen by the wayside.
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But what exactly is TAG poker? Can you still employ the strategy in today’s environment? Let’s find out.
What is TAG poker?
To begin, let’s define TAG poker. TAG is short for tight-aggressive. That means TAGs only play a few hands but play them aggressively once they have their preferred opening range.
That includes pocket 2s, 3s, all the way up to rockets (pocket AA). They also play AK, AQ, AJ, and AT, whether suited or off-suit.
Is TAG an excellent strategy to employ?
In some sense, yes. TAG poker is handy for people evolving from a nit, overly tight player who plays very little hands.
The difference between a TAG and a nit is the former understands positional advantage and proper hand selection. They avoid getting themselves in tough spots where LAGs (loose-aggressive) can exploit them and steal their blinds.
If you’re a TAG player, ensure you’re playing against a group of fish and nits. You can make a few bucks while evolving your game against these players.
You’d want to avoid other TAGs since there’s little profit against them. There are the occasional coolers, of course.
But that is far and few in between. Besides, you don’t want to rely on coolers anyway. Poker is a mind sport so play it as such.
How do you beat a TAG poker player?
Aggressive playing will only cause a TAG to fold most of their hands. So let’s explore each play you can employ to profit from TAG poker players.
1. Steal, steal, steal
Stealing blinds from TAGs is relatively easy. As mentioned earlier, they only play a few hands. These are pairs and broadways, mostly.
Let’s look at an example.
Say you’re the cutoff, and the TAG is on the button. You might think that’s a poor spot since the TAG is the last to act. But as you’ll see, the position won’t matter much.
The action is on you, and you raise preflop. The TAG calls and the flop comes 26T rainbow. Here, you’ll need to fire a probing bet to see how the TAG reacts.
Remember: a TAG’s preferred hands are pairs and broadways. If they miss on the flop and face a bet, they’ll relinquish their hand most of the time. 26T rainbow is a pretty dry board, which means you’ll want to pressure the TAG as they most likely missed their draw.
Conversely, if you’re on the button and the TAG is on the cutoff, stealing their blinds is even easier. So take note of your position.
The button is always a prime spot to bluff a TAG. And if there are multiple TAGs on your table, all the better. The greatest poker players of all time usually employ such tactics even at the top level.
2. Button real estate
Again, the button position is great when playing against a TAG poker strategy. They understand the positional advantage and don’t want to act first against other players. That’s doubly true if they’re facing someone with an aggressive image on the table.
Thus, always apply pressure when you’re on the button. But be warned: you’d want to tone down your aggressive play, as facing a TAG usually means they have a strong hand.
Try a conservative approach. Determine the type of TAG you’re playing against and the amount you’ll need to get them off their hand. Do not overextend your bet, as the TAG may be trapping you.
3. Re-raising TAGs
TAG poker players will raise preflop most of the time. And even if they miss the flop, they might continue firing even if they’re out of position.
A continuation bet like this is standard among TAGs, even with a dry board like A83 rainbow. Yes, aces are in the TAG’s starting range.
But so are KQ, KJ, KT, QJ, and QT. So what happens if they miss? Well, they might continue betting, hoping their opponents will fold. But if you raise them, they might assume you have aces yourself.
An aggressive play like this might even get a TAG to fold a middle pair. They know a pair might get them in trouble if they stick around until the turn and river.
TAG poker against an aggressor
Playing TAG poker is well and good if you’re starting your poker journey. But you’ll need to evolve your play style, as aggressive players will bully you out of your blinds.
Always remember the poker maxim: a caller can only win the pot if they have the best hand. Meanwhile, an aggressor can win the pot with the best hand and pressure their opponent to fold.
If you’re in Sacramento and want to improve your TAG poker strategy, visit Capitol Casino, located at 411 N 16th Street, Sacramento, CA. We are one of the most popular Sacramento poker rooms with daily and weekly tournaments and cash games.
We also have a bar and restaurant area where you can lay back and enjoy delicious cuisines and ice-cold beverages after a hard grind of poker. Contact us at 916-446-0700 or INFO@CAPITOL-CASINO.COM.