- »Transitioning From a TAG to LAG Style
Transitioning From a TAG to LAG Style
Most poker players are advised to play a tight-aggressive (TAG) style when they start their poker careers. It is effective in lower stakes games and is easy to learn. Loose-aggressive (LAG) is more difficult to learn, but it opens up more ways to win. Transitioning from TAG to LAG is easy to do, yet you run the risk of burning through your bankroll.
We spoke about ranges in a prior article and they become extremely important when going from TAG to LAG. A typical TAG player in six-handed No-Limit Hold’em cash games plays approximately 20% of their hands. A LAG in the same games plays upwards of 30-35%. What do those ranges look like in terms of actual cards?
- TAG (20%): 22+, T9s+, Q9s+, K9s+, A5s+, JT0+, QTo+, KTo+, ATo+
- LAG (30%): 22+, 65s+, 75s+, Q9s+, K7s+, A2s+, T9o+, J9o+, Q9o+, K9o+, A8o+
- LAG (35%): 22+, 43s+, 64s+, Q8s+, K7s+, A2s+, 65o+, J9o+, Q9o+, K9o+, A8o+
You can see adding 10% more hands to your range, moving from TAG to LAG territory, adds many weaker hands. Your typical TAG’s suited connectors start at T9s and it’s one-gapped suited connectors at Q9s. LAGS start at 65s and 75s typically.
It doesn’t take adding many more hands to go from a TAG to LAG, but those hands are weaker.
Strengths Of Going From TAG to LAG
Being much more difficult to read is a LAG’s biggest strength. Their range hits so many boards that a TAG’s doesn’t. This allows a LAG player to win more pots uncontested. It also allows them to beat tighter players’ big preflop hands by flopping unlikely hands and draws.
Raising Qd-Qc and someone playing 30% of their hand, for example, is a good example to show you. Pocket queens have 73.368% equity preflop and the range 26.632%. A flop reading As-Tc-9d reduces the queens’ equity to 63.393%, an entire 10 pips.
Imagine the player with queens makes a continuation bet and the LAG calls or even raises. What on earth do you do here? The LAG could easily have an ace in their hand. Likewise, T-9 isn’t out of the question. They could completely miss with 6c-5c, but it’s difficult to know.
Let’s pretend queens continuation bet and the LAG called. The turn is the 7c. What do you do with queens here? What do you do if you check and are then bet into? How about betting again and being called or raised. The LAG has you over a barrel in a spot where you have a strong hand.
This is the man advantage of transitioning from TAG to LAG. LAGs keep their opponents guessing and second-guessing themselves. Don’t forget LAGs also receive good starting hands in addition to their trash holdings.
What Are The Dangers of Switching to a LAG Style
You saw earlier that more weak holdings are needed to go from TAG to LAG. This can and does put LAGs in difficult spots more frequently. You’ll still miss the flop more often than not but you’re going to connect with the board with weak holdings a lot.
It is dangerous to hit top pair with a weak kicker, or a hand such as middle pair. You’ll find yourself chasing draws, too. These things combine to create potentially long periods of losing chips, which is never fun.
Playing LAG is mentally tiring. You’re essentially running bluffs most of the time, trying to win money by implying you have some funky two pair or a monster draw. This leads to LAG players playing fewer tables when grinding online poker.
Switching from TAG to LAG isn’t something you should dive straight into. Don’t try going from a TAG style and suddenly become Phil Ivey and play any two cards. Take things steady and gradually add more hands to your range. It’s advised to do this in later positions at first as you’ll have positional advantage. Take your time, learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and adapt your game.