Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014

The Tight/Aggressive Player

Solid and by the book. This is the style most winning players adopt. Playing tight/aggressive (TAG) is all about picking your hands carefully and then playing them aggressively if you hit.

Some TAGS are easy to play against since they often adopt a predictable ‘fit or fold’ strategy post flop or only fire one continuation bet if they miss.

The stats of the TAG (For 6max)

Low Pre Flop Call %: A tag will be between 15 and 20% vpip. Someone who is between 14-16% vpip is considered a ‘nit’. Nits are the extreme tight players who fold everything except premium hands. If a nit raises, he usually has a strong hand so watch out!

Pre Flop Raise %: Usually only slightly less number than the pre flop call %, around 14-18%.

Aggression Factor: Usually between 2 and 4 on turn/river with the river being slightly smaller. Tags are usually playing draws aggressively on the flop and turn (many times getting all their money into the pot) when they still have some pot equity.

High Steal %: A TAG will be stealing from the cut off and button more than 30% of the time. It gets annoying very quickly and you will need to start defending more liberally versus these steal and even start re-stealing (3 betting with weak hands). In order to 3bet them light, you want to ensure that they fold. Take a look at their fold to 3bet % and if its higher than 50%, then you should 3 bet them light with hands such as any pocket pair, suited connectors and complete junk. Some tags have very low fold to 3bet % (around 20-30%) and it is generally not a good idea to 3bet them light since they will often 4 bet you or call and you have to play out of position.

Continuation Bet %: He will be continuation betting most flops, around 80%. You will need to sometimes bluff raise the flop, call the flop liberally if you hit a pair and/or float them (call with nothing with the intention to bluff the turn or river). Do not overdo it or they will quickly catch on.

Other characteristics:

High 3 bet %: Tags 3bet around 5-10% of their hands and 4bet 2-3%. You will need to start 4 betting them for value with hands such as TT/JJ and AQ from any position as well as mixing up some junk hands not to polarise your range so you do get paid off if you have a monster. The position in which he is 3betting you is crucial, since if he is in blinds, it is usually a strong hand. This can be contrasted with times when you raise in the cut off and the TAG on the button 3bets you.

Robotic Play: TAGS tend to play multiple tables, usually up to 8 but as high as 15+. Therefore they tend to play quite predictably since they can’t afford to waste time thinking too much about one decision. They often fire one continuation bet if they miss and then give up and move onto another table.

Don’t pay them off: If he continues to bet beyond the flop and you only have top pair, chances are that he has you beat. It’s usually best to be safe than sorry. However, some of them (usually the more aggressive ones) will double or triple barrel you on the bluff so you have to know your opponent.

To beat tight/aggressive players:

There’s not that much money to be won from them and efforts should be put towards finding the fish. However, if you happen to be a regular player and yourself a TAG, you will have to face other regular players on a daily basis. One main characteristic of a TAG is that he is predictable.

To sum up:

1: Don’t be afraid to play back to test them, particularly if they are constantly stealing blinds and making continuation bets

2: Play more hands from position and usually bet if they check to you

3: Don’t pay them off in big pots with marginal hands