TAG (which stands for Tight Aggressive) is a term used to describe players who play the good old solid kind of poker in whichone is extremely tight when it comes to hand selection, but becomes very aggressive as soon as he happens upon a winning hand. Tight aggressive play used to be considered the mark of a good player until not so long ago, but lately something interesting has happened which pretty much changed the perception on what a TAG player really is.
With all the poker education available these days, more and more players adopt the TAG approach. That means there less and less room for TAGs in the winner’s circle, as indeed, some of the players who play perfect TAG strategy (or at least deemed perfect by them) end up losers or break even players.
Does this mean that just learning the TAG way to play and acting it out like a robot is not sufficient to make money at the online tables? You bet. Poker is a complex game and the fact that online players are collectively getting better and better means that mechanically acting out some strategy you’ve learned is no longer going to turn you into a winner.
There’s much more than that to becoming successful. Are you one of these TAG players who have slipped into the red? There are several “symptoms” that carry telltale clues about that. Check them out and see if you have these “symptoms” yourself.
A losing TAG player won’t consider subtle deals like rakeback. He won’t care about the 27% Full Tilt rakeback nor about discovering the best rakeback deals. Thus, he’ll simply give up a rather large and straightforward edge.
Another losing TAG symptom is not being able to ascend to the level of poker thought where you’ll actually start considering your own perceived range in addition to your opponent’s range. I mean putting your opponents on a range is something that you do all the time. Every reasonable player does it. Thinking about what range your opponent puts you on is a more advanced skill though, and losing TAG players usually lack this skill.
Applying the skills one learns reading poker articles and watching instructional videos is usually more difficult than most people would think. The losing TAG player routinely misapplies these skills. Take bluffing for instance. While he knows that bluffing too much is hugely detrimental, he’ll fire out floating bluffs on zilch, instead of floating along on a drawing hand like a gutshot straight. The losing TAG player will continuation bet way too often and he’ll refuse to give up when it becomes obvious he’s on a wild goose chase.
Applying learned information too literally is one of the most obvious losing TAG tells. The worse thing is, because of what he views as correct application of acquired poker skills, the TAG player will think he plays good poker and thus he’ll hinder his improvement.
The losing TAG player will consider the cut-off just as a good a position as the button and he will adjust his starting hand range accordingly.
Unfortunately though, the cut off is the cut off because there is one more player to act after it, and if the player in the button is any good, he won’t take to your ignoring him well.
Remember, your aim is to bully people around using the power offered to you by the button. If you act like the cut off is the button, you’ll allow the other guy to bully you around from higher ground. The losing TAG player tilts a lot too, and the time he spends playing on a tilt is usually long as well.