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Poker Player Styles

Understanding Poker Player Styles: TAG, LAG, LP, TP

Poker player styles are as important in poker as understanding position or pot odds. If you’ve read any strategy articles pertaining to Texas Holdem or Omaha you will have invariably come across a number of terms such as loose passive also called LP, or possibly tight aggressive, or in short TAG. Below we have provided a detailed summary on what each of these terms mean. Generally players vary between each of the styles although players may have more tendencies to fall in one group than the other. The style of play can and will change when the game changes. As an example a loose aggressive and tight aggressive player will change their game when faced with a shorthanded table. Pegging a player’s style is one of the many ways in controlling the game and beating your opponents.

Tight Aggressive (TAG)

Tight aggressive players are involved in few hands but tend to dominate their opponents when they do decide to get involved. They are not only aggressive but also patient and will wait till a premium hand comes their way to maximize their profits and minimize losses. This is also why you’ll find TAG players generally play less than 20% of the hands dealt to them. There are very few downfalls to playing TAG other than playing shorthanded where players tend to widen their starting hand range, forcing the TAG player to adjust theirs.

Tight Passive (TP)

Tight passive player, or in short TP have as many benefits as they do short comings. These players have the patience to wait out hands, which benefits them when playing against loose players or those who are weaker than them, however when it comes to playing against aggressively – they simply fall short. Because of this, TP players are easily preyed upon by the tight aggressive player who will force them out of hands quickly, including blinds. When the tight passive player holds a fairly good hand, you can be certain the tight aggressive player will move out of the way, and because of this, TP players often come up short in being able to extract maximum value from their hands when they do play. Mind you there is nothing wrong with being a tight passive player, so long as you can pick and choose your spots to really increase the value of those draws when the odds are in your favour.  If on the other hand, you are playing against someone who is tight passive, increase your level of aggression and force them off their hands. This works especially well when playing heads up against a TP.

Loose Passive (LP)

Loose passive players are ideal in any poker game. The see many flops, call a lot of bets but rarely raise their hands out of concern of loosing. These players love to check  call  right to the showdown. Simply put – loose passive players give up their bankroll with a measly struggle.  The LP is what players long for.  Easy money! When facing this type of opponent you need to realize it’s almost second nature for them to call you, regardless of what they hold. If the slightest possibility is there that the loose passive player can river that inside draw, they will see it through. Because of this you should be completely straight with them. Don’t try anything fancy with the loose passive player. Bet when your hand is good and check when you’re unsure of his.  If on the other hand you are the loose passive player you need to put your game in check or you’ll continue to donate to the table. Start by tightening up your starting hand requirements. You don’t need to play every hand or see every flop. Sure the odd time you might get lucky and suck someone out on the river, but long term effects from playing loose passive amounts to huge losses. You can also read a few poker strategy articles which will help you spot your weaknesses and give you a bit more insight into areas where you can improve.

Loose Aggressive (LAG)

Often depicted as the maniac at the table, the loose aggressive player, otherwise referred to as LAG is unpredictable, crazy aggressive and is extremely erratic in their game. They bet, raise and re-raise with little hesitation regardless of what the odds are on completing their hand. They push the game into automatic overdrive and appear to take down plenty of pots including some big ones. Don’t get us wrong, the loose aggressive player may seem like a winning player however their playing style lacks patience and because of that their overall win rate is incredibly low. They have no control over their emotions or their incredible urge to gamble. There is no sense of value placed on their bets and because of this, they will often walk away losers in the game. To beat a loose aggressive player you will need to loosen up your starting hands somewhat and have the nerve to push back when you have the best hand. Don’t worry if you lose. These players will defiantly pay you off if you off eventually and in a much bigger way than the other styles mentioned above. If they don’t hang in there but never ever let your emotions get the best of you against a loose aggressive player. They will eat your bankroll. Last but not least, do not confuse a loose aggressive player with a player who’s on tilt.