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Are You TAG or Are You LAG?

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  • Are You TAG or Are You LAG?

    Here's a bit of a lead-in to a theoretical concept I was pondering ten minutes ago over tea. Playing styles: How are they formed, how does a player's style influence the way he or she plays, and how does a player's style interact with his or her general skill? To help me answer these questions, I'm asking everyone to post a little information about their playing style, and hopefully I'll be indulged with something to think about over my next cup of tea.

    So, the questions: What is your playing style? Why do you play that way? What do you think your strengths are as a player with your preferred style?

    Thanks to all who indulge me. Also, since I felt like killing some buzz, I have rendered smilies useless in this thread. So don't try posting them. They won't work.

    Last edited by PanickyPoker; Sun Jun 12, 2011, 04:04 PM.

  • #2
    So, I'll start. I don't have a heavily TAG/LAG style, apparently. I used to think I was crazy LAG, but my HUD shows different. I'm sort of right between TAG and LAG. I think I have a pretty intuitively adaptive style of play, and I think that it changes depending on what I observe at my table (which is the strength of my style). I make a point of not sticking to TAG play, because I find it too constricting and I really have no idea how people play that way. Straightforward TAG? OMG boring. LAG play sounds fun to me, but it's also pretty hard to get right. So, I stick to what I can do, which is to play sort of TAG-like, but with some extra hands thrown in for fun.

    I play the way I do because I like learning how to get better and beat people, so I just try and learn as much as I can (ergo the extra hands thrown in; you can learn by watching other people while you're not in a hand, but why sit out when you can play the hand too?). Every little experience adds to my base of knowledge, so I'll intentionally make experimental plays every now and then just for the purpose of learning something new.

    That's my style, at least as I understand it. I'm really interested in hearing some TAG responses, if anybody who plays that style feels like posting here.


    • #3
      Panicky, I play different styles to mix up my game a bit, but for most part when I sit down to MTTs, or even PSO, I play very TAG, until ITM or ITP for PSO. Start off playing only 1 of 3 hands, except blinds of course, AA, KK, AK. every once and a while I throw in a drawing hand if I feel I'm not taking too much risk(table presence, who's at my table). After ITM, or ITP, I'm adding a couple hands every new level of blinds, even open up to play almost any: ace suited, suited connectors, still being cautious, but willing to gamble if I feel I am ahead. Hope this is some use to you, as I have been playing this way for about a week now, and I'm ending up with some better results. I was using this theory in the Sunday Storms I was playing before they moved it to 1:30pm from 3:30pm, and I was working weekends for past couple of weeks and missed out, as my shift doesn't end until 3pm. Had a couple good runs, and got paid out in 1 of 4 Storms that I've played, giving me a 25% ITM for the Storm, but still down $14, as the 1 I cashed was for $30....bad beat kept me from a second cash in the first 1 I played. gl to you Panicky, sounds like we'd have a good chat over a tea about this I think. umbup: btw :P I got a smiley anyhow...rofl
      Last edited by Stakehorse75; Sun Jun 12, 2011, 03:59 PM. Reason: btw


      • #4
        Originally posted by Stakehorse75 View Post
        umbup: btw :P I got a smiley anyhow...rofl


        • #5
          i think players remember thee bad, as like when u been donked, I had AA(Ac,T& K clubs)( AK pocket (4 kind& full house) and then u get bet by Royal flush clubs Q&Jc," I get AAAA all the time! "dannyb198888"

          if u playing good u STAKED Im HIGH then u get beeped, thats why i like this game as u have to PLAY THEE CARDS&LUCK
          I play with 4 color deck as i find maybe thats why i get flush more times than average.
          Last edited by 0HighTimes0; Sun Jun 12, 2011, 09:37 PM.
          3 Time Bracelet Winner


          • #6
            Originally posted by PanickyPoker View Post
            So, the questions: What is your playing style?
            It depends. (seriously)

            Why do you play that way?
            To maximize value and exploit opponents in a given table dynamic.

            What do you think your strengths are as a player with your preferred style?
            Well, my natural style is TAG ("preferred" isn't really the best word) which I think comes from years of limit hold'em which I played before the NL boom. I think my strengths in this style are patience, and understanding when I can deviate profitably.
            Head Live Trainer
            Check out my Videos

            4 Time Bracelet Winner


            • #7
              Originally posted by TheLangolier View Post
              It depends.
              Foiled again.

              I think that reasoning is very interesting. I've read that natural playing styles are closely linked to personality, but hearing that playing history has an influence is quite intriguing. Now I'm wondering why people who are successful LAG's tend toward that style, since its strengths are pretty arcane compared to those of the TAG style.


              • #8
                I think most of us start out playing one way or the other and as we learn adapt to the other side as well.I started Tag and fall back on Tag when I am having problems.


                • #9
                  <---- Nitty as hell in Pso ( Ty very much wacky PSO point system) and ....
                  anything goes in regular style (ie. depends on many sistuations)
                  You might be a king or a little street sweeper, but sooner or later you'll dance with the reaper.


                  • #10
                    I guess I started playing more loose than tight (like VPIP 27-32%) because I couldn't get the tight thing to work for me. Like I get the sense that it's more than just playing only premium hands, it's a whole mindset from reading JWK's thought processes in the Hand Analysis thread.

                    For example with that hand somebody posted of AJ versus Ax - it seems like a tight player, while aware that the bb could have any kicker in the deck, might tend to approach that situation with the awareness that there's that possibility the bb could have had AQ or AK, and that there was the potential to lose a whole lot of chips with a lesser kicker. Whereas, a looser player, while aware that the bb could have any kicker in the deck, might tend to approach the situation with the mindset that there's ten whole kickers that J is beating, and only 2 that J loses to, so there's the potential to rake in a whole pile of chips here.

                    Like maybe tight people would rather forego the possibility of winning extra chips in a risky way, than risk busting out? Whereas maybe looser people would take that risk of busting out for the chance to double up?

                    And without that mindset, maybe just the very act of playing tight isn't enough to make it profitable? Here's another situation: I remember playing at a PSO table with 67mackjr once, and he played AA the first half hour and won about 500 chips, then didn't play another hand for over an hour - raised, got 3bet and folded! It was the right thing to do because he had AK and the other person had KK, but I just don't have that kind of will-power. It's excruciating for me to sit there waiting for a top 10 hand to hit, and then to raise and get reraised and know that you need to fold ... my mindset tends towards thinking that the tight 3better could be doing it with QQ and even if they have KK, AK still has 3 outs. Whereas the odds say it's a fold.

                    I want to develop that sort of will-power to be able to fold and wait for another hand. 67mackjr wound up getting something else and doubling up, so the patience really paid off. I feel like that's my biggest leak - desperation. I'm only starting to be aware of how often I'll call 3bets with a hand like AJs, that's behind everything in the other person's range because I'm thinking of all the hands AJ could beat ... in another situation.

                    That being said, I feel like there's a lot of value to be had that tight players might not see that a more loose player might? Like say you're in the bb and have K5, and the button only plays AA, KK, and AK, and they always raise the first two and limp with the third, so you know they have AK. Then the flop comes 5 7 9 or whatever ... if you're the type to c-bet with air, then sometimes people will call a raise, and the pr of 5's makes K5 an 80% favorite - is that maybe the type of situation where a tight player would never consider raising with a pair of 5's (plus a read), when really the odds of winning are overwhelming? Like to raise with bottom pair - that must seem insane to somebody tight, eh?
                    Last edited by TrustySam; Mon Jun 13, 2011, 05:29 AM.


                    • #11
                      the answer to your subject question issssss......... yes

                      ....... ok i'll elaborate,,,,,yes i'm a tag and....yes i'm a lag

                      i try to take what i think the table dynamic or an individual opponent will give me ,,,i 1st learned to play a very TAGGY game and back then that style lent itself to a very profitable long term win rate, but todays game has way more halfway knoledgable players than back when alll this online frenzy started. pickins was real ez back then. (really still pretty ez at low and micro levels)
                      so now i (try to) play whatever style i think wil be most profitable for the table or person i'm playing at the time ....that help?.... stack em high! MT
                      May the tinfoil protect you. MT


                      • #12
                        TAG for sure

                        I am mostly TAG, although that can certainly change in some situations. This style seems to suit the slower paced events, with bigger starting stacks and slower blind levels. I have a hard time with turbo's, although I played a lot of them when I started (.10 360's and .02 990's).

                        I'm naturally inclined to take fewer risks and have to fight that at times. Second pair never seems like a raising hand to me, I'm more inclined to check and see if someone else bets. I've folded a lot of winning hands that a more experienced player would have played and won.

                        I do seem to find a second gear sometimes, trusting my reads and being aggressive. I find this most often happens when I'm well rested and in the right frame of mind. No distractions helps as well. Given a chip lead tho I am much more aggressive and become more of a LAG, stealing blinds and using the psycology more than the cards.

                        A lot of the skill of poker is learning to play the style that doesn't come naturally, and adapting to the situation at the table. You know, "It depends..." lol, on your stack, reads, position etc etc. Learning to adapt to each situation is the best skill you can have, along with the commitment to keep studying and working on your game. That's what makes the game so fascinating!!
                        Bracelet Winner


                        • #13
                          Hey Panicky,
                          Like ur new avatar, and of course as always your passion for the game.

                          When I was a teen and enrolled in karate, one day my friends and I had a discussion of who would win in a fight; "karate guy" vs. "boxer." I remember Mike Tyson was involved in the debate. Well, one of us finally got up the nerve to ask the teacher/sensei what he thought. Most expected him to say "karate guy." He said, "Well, probobly whoever is better at their craft."

                          Obviously there are great TAG players; winners of many bracelets. And there's no doubt there are gifted LAG's that can make your day at the table very miserable.

                          I'm sure u know this, but besides adaption, extremely critical is, whether you favor TAG or LAG, is that you are not PERCEIVED as being the style u are playing. If u pull this off well, you become dangerous. I'm certainly more TAG under the gun that on the button, but naturally I feel safest in TAG mode.

                          Cheers and gl my friend, j.
                          Last edited by johannfl; Thu Jun 16, 2011, 07:22 AM.


                          • #14
                            Thanks for all the responses. It seems like everyone sees a lot of value in not adhering to one particular approach to the game, but it also looks like not everyone feels a natural tug toward either tightness or looseness. A lot of famous players are well-known for generally playing one style, like Lee Nelson, who is well-known for being a TAG who can still outsmart the young gun LAG's, and Tom Dwan, who occasionally runs 114/82, I hear. But I imagine that adaptability is an even bigger part of both of their games than a strictly followed all-purpose range of starting hands.

                            I lean towards looseness, but there's more to poker than just developing a TAG strategy or a LAG strategy. LAGiness is just a lens through which I see the game. I'll continue to work on my whole skill set and hopefully I'll be a super-special-awesome player someday.

                            Incidentally, I'm pretty thrilled that our coaching roster now has both highly successful TAG players as well as a highly successful LAG. I think that learning through the lens of both styles will be an incredibly valuable set of learning resources. I'm definitely looking forward to more Live Training sessions from Dave, Felix, and the rest of the gang in the future. W00t!


                            • #15
                              well i shouldve sd more of personal pref. and what feels natural. its a great point, panicky. theres no doubt that tag feels more natural to me. almols like im physically drawn to it, and almolst physically abhor lag, like i wanna vomit. i know ive got a naturally analytical way of thinking. i would drive my bible study teachers crazy with questions when i was a kid. if it wasnt logical, i needed to know why. for me i always think numbers, odds, etc. of course poker is about being able to beat your opponent regardless of the hand you have. if it was just about whoever has the best hand wins, everyone would break even in the long run.

                              so by far, im drawn to tag, it feels more natural. but as a student, i am facinated by the lag/ smart lag style played correctly, because it is hard to play well, and goes against my natural instincts, but is a must to understand to compete at levels i hope to compete at. does that make sense? (now everytime i say that , i feel like im stealing a line dave has anyway gonna stop babbling and go to bed. later gators....



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