The tight-aggressive style, along with the loose-aggressive style, is perhaps the most widely played style in all forms of poker from cash games to tournaments However, it is cash games that I want to focus on within this article because I am going to be concentrating on all of the players that label themselves as “tight-aggressive”. There comes a point in the education of a poker player where players seek to arm themselves with more knowledge that will hopefully help them in their quest towards making money. This generally turns players from loose-passive players and tight-passive players into better tight-aggressive players.
However, it is a huge mistake to simply label all tight-aggressive players or “TAGS” as the same. Clearly there are huge differences in how the TAG style is played. One of the key factors in all of this is that most players get the “tight” part of the style correct but often fall way short with the “aggressive” part. In fact, it is the first half of that style (tight) that is the easiest to play because as long as you are folding more hands than your opponents are playing and the majority of your starting hands, then you are playing tightly.
There are issues at work here, though, because if you asked one hundred “tight-aggressive” poker players what their own style was, then probably all of them would say that it was tight-aggressive. However, the true reality of the situation is somewhat different because if you play the tight-aggressive style poorly then you often slip into being tight-passive in many instances. So what actually happens is that you are not a purely tight-aggressive player but actually a hybrid between tight-aggressive and tight-passive. This is why you could take two TAG players and they could have vastly contrasting earn rates.
So just how can we become a better TAG player? Well first of all we need to be tougher post flop and that means not giving up if we don’t flop or make any sort of hand against a single opponent. Other factors like being more aware of our leaks also come into play. For example, many players fail to see how open-raising to steal the blinds and then folding most of their range to a 3-bet is heavily exploitable by your stronger opponents. You often need to place yourself into the shoes of your opponents to then gauge how they are going to respond to your strategy.
There are only so many styles in poker but the variations that exist in individual styles are numerous. The tight-aggressive style is one of the most popular and also one of the most mis-played styles in poker. To be a true tight-aggressive expert you need to know when to really apply the pressure post-flop and keep your foot on the pedal. Too many tight-aggressive players morph into tight-passive ones as soon as their aggressive play meets even the slightest level of resistance… don’t become that player.