How To Beat Winning Players Heads Up
The tight aggressive player (also known as a TAG) is normally an opponent who has a clue how to play poker and are often winning players in heads up. The term tight/ aggressive is one that is often associated with ‘the correct’ way to play poker and is often a foundation to help beginner players start to get a handle on the game.
However being a tight/ aggressive player is all relative. If for example you are a tight aggressive player in judi bola online, that may make you a loosish player in a full ring game (if you don’t change the hands you choose to play) and subsequently an absolute rock in a heads up game as you simply wouldn’t play enough hands to even think about making any money.
This is also a player type that many newer players really struggle with and the first thing that they have trouble distinguishing is the initial difference between telling apart a LAG and a TAG. The differences are subtle but very much there is you know what to look for. The first big difference is that the TAG player shows you that he has some kind of fold button pre flop unlike his maniac cousin. All player types are on a spectrum and so some are tighter than others but if for example you see a guy that seems aggressive folding somewhere between 10 – 20% of his buttons (20% being very tight for this player type) then that is a good indicator that you are likely facing a TAG.
Another difference you’ll notice is that TAG’s are often very positionally aware and tend to play more passively when they are out of position and therefore will let you play a more straight forward style of poker when you’re on the button. They will not be punishing your limps anywhere near as often as the LAG’s which from a strategy point of view you can exploit them by playing a much more ABC type of game where you raise for straight value with hands like 88+ AT+ Broadway cards and then you can also pepper in hands like suited connectors and one gappers so that you’re not totally transparent. They will also allow you to limp a lot more hands on the button and give up on lots of pots post flop when you take stabs on the flop.
There are a few additional toys you have to play with to help you understand how to beat these kinds of players, the first of which is the light pre flop 3 bet (re raise pre flop). These guys are aware of how to play poker and therefore realise the power of position and aggression which will lead them to raise most of the hands that they play from the button. Now we know they don’t have a strong hand that often (when they are in position and raising) and we know that they also have a fold button which is why they make good candidates for bluffs in this spot.
You’ll often find that a lot of these guys give your first 3bet or two a decent amount of credit but after that they start to get some what suspicious so for that reason you may want to think about tightening up and make your third or fourth 3bet for straight value with a premium hand and hope they decide to make a stand at the wrong time.
The next play that I find quite useful against this opponent type if the check raise bluff post flop and again it’s because these guys tend to raise a lot in position and continuation bet on a good amount of flops and we already know they have a fold button too. Use the same caution with this move as with the 3bet bluff pre flop and as soon as you feel that you’ve got away with the play a couple of times, it’s often an idea to then switch to a value play (you’re check raising with a hand in the hope they don’t believe you as you’ve been ‘out of line’).
You’ll notice that I don’t talk about these plays vs the other player types? The reason being is that if we check raise bluff a Calling Station, we often get called and then what? The Loose/ Aggressive player also calls or plays back at us which makes life hard. The Tight/ Passive player frankly has a hand far too often when he’s betting which also makes they play a mistake in a lot of cases.
Far too many players make the mistake of mis-applying bluffs or think that they are far more important than they actually are which often gets them into trouble unnecessarily. Solid, ABC poker is all that it takes to beat most players that you’ll ever face but when you’re opponents start to know what they are doing too (like our TAG friend), then the game really starts to get interesting.