There was a question in our forums recently about transitioning from TAG to LAG. Going from a Tight Aggressive style to a Loose Aggressive style can be daunting at first, since playing much looser can be incredibly uncomfortable for players. But I wanted to give 4 quick things you can do starting loosening up your preflop game today…since having the ability to play a solid LAG strategy is a vital gear that most players are missing.
Use Your Position
Good poker is all about using your position. Understand where you are in relation to the button, understand how easily you can fight for that button, and attack when possible. This is a staple of TAG strategy, and it’s even more important for a LAG who is playing more hands.
As soon as you sit down at a table your mission is to figure out how easily you can fight for the button. If you are playing on a very tight table, you may be able to get the button often when you raise from EP. If so, raise a ton of hands from everywhere since you’ll pick either picking up buttons or blinds a large chunk of the time.
If you find yourself on a table where the players behind you are very loose, it becomes very difficult to play a LAG strategy since you won’t be generating many folds. The big difference between TAG and LAG is that a TAG is playing enough hands where he can get value quite often given the way his range is composed. A LAG, because he is playing so many more hands, is going to have more weak hands in his range and thus he’ll be forced to bluff more often. If the table won’t let you take position or bluff well, playing LAG could be setting money on fire.
3Bet More Often
Remember that the ‘AG’ part of LAG stands for ‘aggressive’. Don’t try to implement a LAG strategy by calling a ton of preflop raises…instead…focus on how you can open more, can 3bet more, and can be a bigger pain in the ass to your opponents.
3betting more often is a great way to utilize your LAG skills. Start by looking for players who fold too often against 3bets…and attack them. Just make sure to size your 3bets well to ensure they don’t start looking you up wider. You’ll find out very quickly who wants to fight back with you and who has no interest in playing against you…which makes your life as a LAG very easy.
Find More Spots To Open
Similar to the first point about using position…find extra spots to raise more hands preflop. Playing LAG isn’t simply just raising any suited connector from UTG because “LOL, LAGs do that!” Playing solid LAG is finding spots where raising a wider range of hands is profitable either because it’s going to pick up the pot a lot preflop, or it’s going to create a profitable spot if you get action. This doesn’t mean that you will win every hand that you play…but the goal is to find yourself in as many +EV opportunities as possible.
Start by looking for spots where you can raise more hands from LP…then MP…then EP. Understand that a good spot either picks up the pot preflop or creates a +EV spot going postflop. Maybe a player calls a lot preflop but then folds a ton if he doesn’t flop TP+ on the flop? Great…raise hands PF, and enjoy when he folds to your CB a ton of the time. Think ahead, and pull the trigger when you find good spots.
Work On Your Postflop Strategy
Most players think “I’ll just focus on my preflop play first…and then I’ll work on the flop, then turn, then river”. But in reality, I think it’s better to first work on postflop play. If you know how to handle postflop spots (especially top pair, second pair, and total air)…won’t you feel more comfortable adding extra hands into your preflop range? Of course you will…because if you get action preflop you won’t be totally lost when the hand goes to the flop.
Keep studying your poker strategy away from the table and challenge yourself to play common hand strengths better postflop. Learn how to handle various hands on various textures, learn how to handle being IP vs OOP, and all of the sudden postflop isn’t so scary. And when postflop is no longer scary, it’s much easier to raise that KJs from EP and that 75s from MP.
Like most things in poker, don’t force it. If a LAG strategy isn’t going to work for you, either because you are still growing your skillset or because the table isn’t right for it…don’t force it! Just keep working on your ability to find good spots, to take good spots, and to play more hands so you can grow your winrate. It may be uncomfortable at first…but try it as a smaller limit and see how it works for you!