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Playing Tight-Aggressive Poker

The best way to make more money in poker (other than finding softer poker competition) is to adopt a tight-aggressive poker strategy. This style of play is widely regarded as the most reliable way to earn money in poker. At some point, all winning poker players learn how to play tight-aggressive poker. In fact, you can watch the biggest winners in poker and see the tight-aggressive style in action right before your eyes.

How Tight-Aggressive Poker Works

The name of this style sounds complicated but it’s actually a pretty simple strategy. The word “tight” in tight-aggressive stands for your starting hands. This means that you are tight, or selective, in choosing which hands you play and which hands you fold. Most tight-aggressive poker players limits themselves to only playing the top 20% or so best hands.

The word “aggressive” refers to your betting style. Once you have a strong hand, you then play it aggressively by betting with it. You don’t try to pull a lot of fancy slowplays or let the other players do all the betting. You simply make the bets yourself and let the other weak players call those bets.

The main thing you want to avoid as a tight-aggressive poker player is making a lot of calls. The biggest sign of a weak, losing player is a penchant for calling lots of bets. The motto of winning players is that if it’s good enough to call, it should be good enough to bet. Otherwise, it should be folded.

There are always exceptions of course, but the main idea is that as a tight-aggressive poker player, you want to be decisive. Don’t fiddle around with a bunch of weak calls, wondering if your hand is good or not. If you don’t know where you stand, fold. If you have a strong hand, bet.

Why TAG Poker Works

The tight-aggressive playing style works because it follows the basic tenants of winning poker: bet when you have a good hand, fold when you don’t. It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at how easy it is to get distracted from those basic concepts.

Additionally, the tight-aggressive style makes your decision process much easier. By taking the lead with your bets, you have control of the hand. This causes your opponents to play a more straightforward manner against you because they are reeling backwards in the face of your bets. It makes it more expensive for them to bluff you, it makes it expensive for them to draw to bigger hands and it keeps them flustered.

People who make a lot of checks and calls have a much harder time figuring out where they stand in the hand. When you simply call bets, you have no idea if your opponent is betting because he has a strong hand or because you look like you have nothing. It also gives your opponents all control of the hand. They get to decide how much they pay to draw and they get to decide how much it costs to see a showdown.

Final Thoughts

The tight-aggressive poker style is not an end-all solution to poker. When you adopt a tight aggressive style, you still have to think and make difficult decisions from time to time. However, it’s best poker style you can use to earn more money and become a better poker player.

It may feel like an obvious and predictable playing style, but it works. It does best in low limit games where the players are lucky to know what hand is best. Against these weak players, the tight-aggressive style cleans house. As you move up in stakes, the games get more difficult but the tight-aggressive style will still be your best friend.

Further Reading:

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