Playing LAG: Hand Chart

c9h13no3

c9h13no3

Is drawing with AK
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Total posts
8,819
Okay, so we all know that playing tight & aggressive gives you the best shot to be profitable online, ect. ect. No debates there.

But sometimes I just get bored playing nothing but the premium hands, and I play a lot of live home games against a regular crew of guys, so loosening up and seeing more flops, I think, has some possible benefits.

For the sake of this argument, I'm talking about ring games, not tournaments.

So first, what advantages are there to playing loose, and is there a playstyle that we can adopt to maximize these advantages? And can we make some comments about what sort of hands we're willing to play against the usual TAGS?

I'll start with the first question I posed: What advantage is there to playing loose?

1) Implied odds. If we can get into a flop cheaply, we may flop 2-pair,
a straight, ect. and we can really milk a lot of value when TAG players hit weaker (but still good) holdings.

2) Picking off C-bets. When flops come low, much of a TAG's range will miss that flop. However, a lot of tight aggressive players will C-bet anyways. And while you can still pick off C-bets while playing tight too, a check-raise will look more formidable when you may actually be holding something dangerous on the 865 flop.

3) bluffing scare cards will look scarier to TAG opponents if they know we're holding a wide range of hands.

4) Players are bit more surprised when we're actually holding big hands like AA & AK if we've been playing 97 off suit all the time.

----------------

In this thread, I want to clear up what kinds of hands we're looking to play against the types of TAG opponents that frequent my home game. Obviously, suited connectors are great, and we're probably playing all but the lowest of them, but I wanted to bring up a few hands for discussion that I thought we should really think about playing if we're trying to maximize the advantages I spoke about above.

1) :3s4::4s4:: This hand isn't as strong as 45s, since it only has the possibility of flopping 2 open-ended straight draws (a flop containing 56, or 25). So do we only play this hand on the button? Or just never at all?

2) :10h4::9s4:: This hand loses the flush draw possibility, but if the flop comes [QJX], a K may help out our TAG opponent's hand, thus improving our odds of getting action. Or is KQJ(T9) just too obvious a straight, and we lose a lot of our implied odds?

3) :9s4::7s4: & other suited spacers: This hand only has 2 open-ended straight draw flops (as opposed to 3 for connectors), but I think what this hand loses in a straight draw, it more than makes up for in implied odds. While a board of T98 just screams straight, it would be harder for our opponent to put us on a straight if a flop came T86. And better yet, are 2-gap suited cards in our range? Is 96s a playable hand?

4) :ah4::3h4: & :kc4::9c4:: These hands are the typical beginner's trap hands. However, they do have the ability to flop some strong draws (A2-A5 & K9+ can make straights as well). Also, if we're playing A4, and the flop comes A49, we're likely to get a lot of action from AK type TAG hands. Also, these hands do help us avoid a bigger flush (a problem with the suited connectors). However, the temptation to play this for top pair will still be there, so would we lose more chips trapping ourselves with this hand, than we would stacking off with TAGs when we hit the flop hard?

----------------

I think that's enough for now, as this post is probably far beyond the length requirements of most members as it is.

So yeah, comments? Thoughts? I already know I'm way over-thinking this as it is, but I can't sleep, so why not spam up the forums with a bunch of rambling, right? And what's the harm in actually thinking through these sorts of things that you never really think through anyways?
 
Last edited:
N

nick1611

Guest
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Total posts
63
Okay, so we all know that playing tight & aggressive gives you the best shot to be profitable online, ect. ect. No debates there.

not really. If the rest of the table is very tight then obviously playing loose will be better than tight
 
c9h13no3

c9h13no3

Is drawing with AK
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Total posts
8,819
not really. If the rest of the table is very tight then obviously playing loose will be better than tight
Yeah, but online, generally there are enough loose players to make the table well suited to playing TAG. I didn't really wanna open this can of worms. I mainly wanted to think about what kinds of hands we should attack the big stacked TAGs at the table with.
 
S

switch0723

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Total posts
8,430
my playing style is definately very lag, but there is a fine line between a succesful lag player and a fish. As a lag player, you dont need to be calling any raises pre flop with anything but premiums, since it ruins the change of being the agressor. I very very very rarely call raises pre flop, i generally fold to them or re raise them. Also as a lag player, that doesnt mean you should be raising every hand, you still want to be selective with your hands, but it generally means you want to be raising pre flop when first into pot with hands such as j,t q,t 7,8, 2,2, a,a, 5,7s and also you generally need to be playing position and make sure you arent oop as a lag player as people will not give you credit for hands, so you need for them to act first. So you want to still only play hands that can be succesful on the flop.

Also you said you can call a raise from tag player with ace rag, big nono since that generally means you are dominated
 
zachvac

zachvac

Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Total posts
7,832
Forget which book I read that mentioned this, but there is definitely a fine line between a good LAG player and a fish. But the majority of hands shown down by the LAG player will be the better hand, and the fish will just call down because "hey, I could win". The LAG player, although very loose and aggressive, doesn't like aggression and will often fold to a re-raise PF because, as mentioned above, it takes away their shot to be the aggressor.

The theory behind LAG strategy is "you win when you hit, and you win when your opponents miss". Obviously this is the vast majority of the time, but it's not easy to play.

I think TAG is still slightly more profitable (but as a TAG you must also open up a little with position), but it's not just because all the players are loose, which sometimes isn't even true. The profitability from playing LAG also comes from the image. If you have an image of being loose, playing a lot of hands, opponents will sometimes make the mistake of thinking you're just a wild player. As mentioned above though, most of the times they reach showdown they do have the goods. Obviously this won't work against really excellent players, as they will observe the fact that you make sure you have the better hands in the big pots and that you don't like aggression in return. LAG mainly relies on winning a lot of small pots and then using that image to pick up big pots they wouldn't win otherwise. So your opponents can't be observant enough to pick up on exactly how you're playing, but they have to be observant enough to realize that you're playing and raising a wide range of hands. That's the problem with playing LAG online, at least at the lower levels, not sure of like 200nl and up.

But I really like the style live, especially when you have other people trying to play by the book in a TAG style. I like to start off the session extremely loose, try to show at least one bluff in the first 5-10 minutes. The style is what is described in Sklansky's NL theory and practice as making an obvious mistake to induce costly mistakes. You make the theoretical "mistake" of playing too many hands, and most inexperienced players see this and try to take advantage of it by making the more costly mistakes of playing bigger pots with worse hands. By playing more hands you then lose more small pots (unless you're playing weak-tight players in which case you'll steal blinds a lot more and you may actually be playing a good theoretical preflop strategy) but sacrifice it to win the bigger pots.

The TAG style is easily beaten if it is obvious you are playing TAG, you just don't play hands with them unless you have a great preflop hand. Played with someone the other day who played exactly 4 hands all night (like 6 hours): JJ, AK, and AA twice. Yet people were paying him off like they didn't know he had a premium hand when he raised preflop. Now most TAG players aren't THAT tight, and they usually mix it up once in a while to throw opponents off, but the great thing about the TAG style, is that even against observant opponents, you're coming close to breaking even. If you play LAG against good opponents who can crack you, you're going to lose a lot of money. TAG and at worst you lose pretty much just blinds. So although TAG is probably the most likely to win in the long run, LAG is probably going to win the most money in the long run against semi-observant, but not good, opponents. Variance is definitely higher, but I believe in general in the live games I've played, LAG is the most profitable, hands down.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Total posts
13,642
I think you're stressing too much on certain types of hands and not enough on situations in general. I think things like position, your opponents tendencies and game flow are much more important.

Like zach said, you win when you hit, but you also win when your opponent misses which means that we don't really need all that much hand selection.

To give you a very general answer, I'd say that as a lag we should be going down the same road TAGs take in late position, but just take it x steps farther depending on how passive your table is. I mean hell, you don't need hand selection if you're on the button with two tagfish in the blinds - we can raise literally any two cards.
 
S

switch0723

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Total posts
8,430
very very good post zach +rep
 
c9h13no3

c9h13no3

Is drawing with AK
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Total posts
8,819
Yeah, I realize that when you loosen up, and who you target when you loosen up is more important than the actual cards being played. However, maybe I'm trying to be too selective.

For example, I'm in my home game, and one of the typical textbook TAG's is on the button, where I know he will play most any 2 face cards to see a flop with. Thus, I don't mind raising with T8s, since I can mostly likely win a small pot when he misses, and a big pot when we both hit. However, I'm probably not going to try this move with 72os, because it has less of a chance of hitting big in that "when we both hit the flop" scenario. I always thought of the drawing ability of the cards most lags play as the "backup plan" for when we can't take down the pot with just a c-bet.

The trick is, should I be making that move with just any 2 cards? Or should I actually be selective about my starting hand criteria, even when I'm not playing the cards so much as playing the situation & the player?

Also you said you can call a raise from tag player with ace rag, big nono since that generally means you are dominated
Sure, we're dominated, but when we play suited connectors vs. AKos or TT+, we're a 60:40 underdog at best. Where do we draw the line as far as being down in the odds against a villain preflop? 70:30? 75:25? And should implied odds come into play when we consider starting hands to make moves against opponents who have a more predictable playing style. Obviously implied odds do matter, since people call raises with 22, ect. just to try and farm a set, even when the odds don't necessarily call for that situation, just because sets usually pay off so well when they do hit.
 
Last edited:
zachvac

zachvac

Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2007
Total posts
7,832
For example, I'm in my home game, and one of the typical textbook TAG's is on the button, where I know he will play most any 2 face cards to see a flop with.
Do you understand what TAG means? I ask this in all honesty, not trying to be mean, because someone who will play any 2 face cards to see a flop is not a "typical textbook TAG". Basically Tight refers to preflop, where he plays a small selection of hands, premiums. Aggressive means that postflop whether he misses or hits he will push, obviously making reads after seeing reactions. So when you say:

c9h13no3 said:
Thus, I don't mind raising with T8s, since I can mostly likely win a small pot when he misses

I question it because if he is truly aggressive he will play, well, aggressively.

c9h13no3 said:
The trick is, should I be making that move with just any 2 cards? Or should I actually be selective about my starting hand criteria, even when I'm not playing the cards so much as playing the situation & the player?
The answer is the answer to most poker questions, it depends. Also, you should never be 100% playing the cards or 100% playing the player. It's always a combination. Just remember the cards don't matter unless you reach a showdown, but for when it does, the better the cards the better your hand. But let's do some math. Say you're on the button, when can we push with any 2 cards? Let's assume that no matter what our hand is not going to hit. If we plan on simply firing one bullet, let's assume a 3x bb raise. So we are betting 3 bbs to win 1.5 bbs. We need to win over 2/3 to do this profitably. So the combined probability that they call you needs to be less than 1/3. So if player A has a 7% chance of calling your PFR and player B has a 14% of calling your PFR, the combined chance of them folding is (1-.07)(1-.14) = .7998 which is above the required 0.67.

In fact I've found most of the time we can push with any 2 cards simply preflop and be profitable. The magic number for both of them is 18.35%. If they both have that percentage chance of calling your PFR it's exactly even money (well it's 18.35034191... but we can ignore these). If one is higher and the other is lower you can use the equation I used above with 7% and 14%. But the point is I haven't seen many people calling preflop raises over 18% of the time, most of the numbers I've seen are below 10%. You can do all sorts of math, knowing of course that cbets sometimes work and that you will hit the flop a certain amount of the time. Even with 27o, a flop of 277 is possible. So it just depends, how tight are your opponents, how passive are they preflop so they'll fold your cbet? It just depends.

c9h13no3 said:
Sure, we're dominated, but when we play suited connectors vs. AKos or TT+, we're a 60:40 underdog at best. Where do we draw the line as far as being down in the odds against a villain preflop? 70:30? 75:25? And should implied odds come into play when we consider starting hands to make moves against opponents who have a more predictable playing style. Obviously implied odds do matter, since people call raises with 22, ect. just to try and farm a set, even when the odds don't necessarily call for that situation, just because sets usually pay off so well when they do hit.


Remember, in NLHE the showdown numbers hardly mean a thing. Being dominated isn't bad just because your showdown equity is lower, it's because when you think you hit you're beat. If you call with suited connectors vs. AA, you're hoping for 2 pair, trips, a flush, a straight, or a flush and/or straight draw and an opponent to give you odds to call. Even if you're 90:10, if you know whether you're ahead on the flop and your opponent doesn't, you have implied odds. If you push with 67 and the flop comes 589, he doesn't know you hit your straight. He will pay you off. Even if you are as bad as 90:10 preflop (don't think that's possible, but shh ;)), as long as you can get 9 times the preflop raise or limp when you do hit, you should make the call. That's the key to playing LAG, you know you're most likely behind on the flop, but that on the flop you catch up because a premium has to push unimproved assuming it's ahead (at least for high PPs). If you don't improve you fold and if you hit you're almost sure you're ahead.
 
dufferdevon

dufferdevon

Legend
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Total posts
1,663
After watching the small ball videos by Daniel (I can call him that 'cause we're both Canadian eh). And tried it in some free roll tourneys tonight. You would think that against other loose fish this system wouldn't work, well just the opposite !! I was in the top 5 in chips most of the night, they couldn't hand me their chips fast enough.
I still have to let go of some hands earlier, but the loose aggressive style can work. Position is really important. Look at those videos, they are great and have fun at some free rolls.
 
OzExorcist

OzExorcist

Broomcorn's uncle
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Total posts
8,583
Awards
1
I agree with Zach, Chuck and Switch - for the most part it's about aggression and finding the right situations. Not the cards themselves.

That said, there's a few hands that I think make for problems with this style: hands in the JT/T9/T8 range specifically, because often when they hit, they're hitting the bottom end of the flops that our TAG opponents are hitting. I find something like 78 much easier to play.
 
B

bustme

Rock Star
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Total posts
270
Okay, so we all know that playing tight & aggressive gives you the best shot to be profitable online, ect. ect. No debates there.

But sometimes I just get bored playing nothing but the premium hands, and I play a lot of live home games against a regular crew of guys, so loosening up and seeing more flops, I think, has some possible benefits.

For the sake of this argument, I'm talking about ring games, not tournaments.

So first, what advantages are there to playing loose, and is there a playstyle that we can adopt to maximize these advantages? And can we make some comments about what sort of hands we're willing to play against the usual TAGS?

I'll start with the first question I posed: What advantage is there to playing loose?

1) Implied odds. If we can get into a flop cheaply, we may flop 2-pair,
a straight, ect. and we can really milk a lot of value when TAG players hit weaker (but still good) holdings.

2) Picking off C-bets. When flops come low, much of a TAG's range will miss that flop. However, a lot of tight aggressive players will C-bet anyways. And while you can still pick off C-bets while playing tight too, a check-raise will look more formidable when you may actually be holding something dangerous on the 865 flop.

3) Bluffing scare cards will look scarier to TAG opponents if they know we're holding a wide range of hands.

4) Players are bit more surprised when we're actually holding big hands like AA & AK if we've been playing 97 off suit all the time.

----------------

In this thread, I want to clear up what kinds of hands we're looking to play against the types of TAG opponents that frequent my home game. Obviously, suited connectors are great, and we're probably playing all but the lowest of them, but I wanted to bring up a few hands for discussion that I thought we should really think about playing if we're trying to maximize the advantages I spoke about above.

1) :3s4::4s4:: This hand isn't as strong as 45s, since it only has the possibility of flopping 2 open-ended straight draws (a flop containing 56, or 25). So do we only play this hand on the button? Or just never at all?

2) :10h4::9s4:: This hand loses the flush draw possibility, but if the flop comes [QJX], a K may help out our TAG opponent's hand, thus improving our odds of getting action. Or is KQJ(T9) just too obvious a straight, and we lose a lot of our implied odds?

3) :9s4::7s4: & other suited spacers: This hand only has 2 open-ended straight draw flops (as opposed to 3 for connectors), but I think what this hand loses in a straight draw, it more than makes up for in implied odds. While a board of T98 just screams straight, it would be harder for our opponent to put us on a straight if a flop came T86. And better yet, are 2-gap suited cards in our range? Is 96s a playable hand?

4) :ah4::3h4: & :kc4::9c4:: These hands are the typical beginner's trap hands. However, they do have the ability to flop some strong draws (A2-A5 & K9+ can make straights as well). Also, if we're playing A4, and the flop comes A49, we're likely to get a lot of action from AK type TAG hands. Also, these hands do help us avoid a bigger flush (a problem with the suited connectors). However, the temptation to play this for top pair will still be there, so would we lose more chips trapping ourselves with this hand, than we would stacking off with TAGs when we hit the flop hard?

----------------

I think that's enough for now, as this post is probably far beyond the length requirements of most members as it is.

So yeah, comments? Thoughts? I already know I'm way over-thinking this as it is, but I can't sleep, so why not spam up the forums with a bunch of rambling, right? And what's the harm in actually thinking through these sorts of things that you never really think through anyways?



I play LAG if it is many Tight players on the table,,,,,,

But the only problem is that you cant be just as aggressive if you play LAG than you can do when you play TAG

It is better to play LAG -with a neutral post flop play..........

That is because you cant lay down every pot when people now you are a LAG player..

I only take down the pot if the people in the pott are bluffable ore the flop is bluffable.
 
Last edited:
YoungGunKid

YoungGunKid

Rising Star
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Total posts
17
I think this is a high quality thread totally.LAG style is extremely profitable throughout games and tourneys,but the trick is to refrain from crazy bluffs when your way behind and wont to win,or you have a marginal hand and are trying to bluff as if to have the nuts and you get caught.But getting caught once or twice isnt all that bad,as it can give you more profit down the line as the TAG"s will call you a little more frequently thinking you have a stink or marginal hand.Great input Chuck and Switch
 
B

bustme

Rock Star
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Total posts
270
I will say that the key here is read on the player.

If you play LAG without reads on the players you are a donk in my opinion
 
Last edited:
S

switch0723

Cardschat Elite
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Total posts
8,430
It is better to play LAG -with a neutral post flop play..........

But that completely removes the AG part of LAG. It makes you just an L or a losse passive player, one of the worst player type you can be. Raising pre flop and betting missed flops is how LAG players make money, they play situation and the board more than their cards
 
B

bustme

Rock Star
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Total posts
270
1. You are aggressive preflop

2. You are not passive postflop, you are in between ( neutral)


3.It is wery few players who masters LAG, so I dont now if the neutral postflop play will make you more money.
 
Last edited:
Starting Hands - Poker Hand Nicknames Rankings - Poker Hands
Top