tight aggressive player

Tight Aggressive Player

tight aggressive player

If you're having some trouble winning Texas Holdem Poker or if you are very new to the game, the best way to approach learning and to make some money while you're building your skill level is to become a tight aggressive poker player. Knowing how to play tight aggressive in poker will keep you from losing too much and enable you to make advances with your Texas Holdem bankroll so you don't give up in discouragement or because you lost your rent money for the month.


The usual tight aggressive (TAG) professional poker players only plays about 25% of the hands he gets dealt to start the game. And some players insist that if you want to learn how to be TAG you should be playing no more than 15% of your hands pre-flop on average, and you should be folding 1/2 of your hands after you see the flop. This might be a little extreme, but if you're just learning how to be TAG in earnest it could be the way to go. PokerTracker is available to help you know how often you're holding and how often you're folding if you play online.

As a matter of fact, one of the poker kings of aggression, Phil Hellmuth, recommends that new players only play the 10 best starting poker hands pre-flop (Hellmuth has his own customized list of these as many highly accomplished players do, but they all look rather similar and you can research the standard Top 10). If you don't get dealt one of these 10 hands, you fold immediately. This means you'll fold, pre-flop, 94% of the time. Talk about tight! By the way, the 15% play rule would mean you come up with a list of the Top 25 starting hands and play only them, folding everything else no matter what.

Still other recommendations for the "T" in TAG say to never play any starting hand, except for a pocket pair, that has any card lower than a 9 in it--even if your pocket hand is A-9, just fold it immediately. And still others recommend that if you find yourself having trouble getting the discipline up to play tight, fold any starting hand pre-flop--any starting hand, even if it's a pair--that has any card less than a 10 in it!


So, let's say you are playing it tight and you get a Top 20 (or whatever your chosen standard is) hand in your pocket to start the game. Now what do you do pre-flop? Well, I'll tell you what you don't do--you don't call. Never call unless you have already raised/re-raised at least one time and when you do call you're calling the re-raise(s) that came after your (re)raise. Never, ever limp in to start the game, not even from early poker position, and never call except for that one time that I just said in the previous sentence. Absolutely never check, either pre-flop or any other time in the game. Now, don't you run the risk of losing a lot of money by doing this kind of raising? Maybe once in a while, but you've also just increased your odds of winning big money many times over, and besides that every hand's a winner and every hand's a loser once you see the flop. This is all pre-flop preparation for either winning or cutting your losses.

  • Remember, if you're playing tight, you will fold the vast majority of the time anyway. So if you're raising it's strictly with some kind of hand that has better-than-average odds of winning. All those many folds will keep your losses minimal.
  • By being so aggressive with your betting when you hold'em, you create an intimidating poker image, because nobody ever knows if you're betting with pocket Aces or 2-2 or 10-J or what. Another ploy to use here is to always raise by the exact same percentage if you're the first one to raise. Let's say it's always 4X the BB, no matter what you're holding. (When it comes to re-raising, bet based on your knowledge of the player who raised first, how much of your chip stack you need to put in to re-raise, and the true strength of your starting hand.)
  • You are sweetening the pot for yourself while whittling down the competition by betting so aggressively.
tight aggressive player


When you're first learning how to play tight aggressive and mastering the art of being a tight aggressive poker player, never bluff. You'll eventually learn how to bluff and change gears, but for now don't even try to make it a part of your game.

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