Long term online poker success with winning strategies – register for free!

The best strategies With the correct strategy, poker becomes an easy game. Our authors show you how to succeed, one step at a time.

The smartest thinkers Learn from and with internationally successful poker pros, in our live coaching sessions and in the forum.

Free poker money PokerStrategy.com is free of charge. Additionally there is free poker money waiting for you.

You are already a PokerStrategy.com member? Log in here!


Tight Aggressive - psychological Point of View


In this article

  • Different types of opponents
  • Loose vs Tight

Poker is an internal struggle. As already mentioned, this implies self-management above all else. Dangers and challenges lurk everywhere, just waiting to put your character to the test. To become a better poker player, it's advisable to develop your character. Any weakness of character not only poses social and practical difficulties; it is also a leak through which your money will trickle away. Therefore we should pay a lot of attention to minimizing our weaknesses and gaining as much sovereignty over our actions as possible.

It is only recently that I have given much thought to the link between self-management and strategy. The tight-aggressive style is the epitome of perfect self-control. This is known to be the only lucrative style of poker.

If this is so, why doesn't everyone play in this style?

The answer is very simple: because it is unnatural. This style is unique, carefully crafted, and rarely found in your everyday game. It is necessary to invest a lot of time and energy into exercising this style successfully.

All other styles correspond with a certain type of character:

Loose passive types are embraced by their contemporaries. They are very social and outgoing. Their greatest weakness is their desire for harmony. They want to be liked, and avoid coming across as unpleasant. For this reason they play many starting hands (due to their drive for social interaction), but raise very little. This (subconscious) action is aimed to avoid any kind of offense. Playing a part and being liked is their ultimate goal, which they do tend to reach as far as I'm concerned. I love calling stations at my table.


The LAG always wants to be the centre of attention, and makes manic, ego-fuelled moves. He uses the game as an opportunity to boast and show off. Everyone has met this type of player in real life.


The Rock is overly cautious and has a great need for safety and control. He will never master the game, because short-term control as well as security is non-existent in poker.

All these present typical human character types. But where does the TAG come in?


The tight-aggressive style is contradictory. On the one hand, it is necessary to hold back, but behave decisively and aggressively when playing. I don't see any correlation to a specific character type. Of course there are some of us who remain quiet until a certain point is reached, and then explode into life. However, this is not tight-aggressive, because the pent up rage is a blind one. The TAG can always pull the emergency brakes on the turn or river when he realizes that he is defeated.

These traits find analogies in certain career types or hobbies. Good policemen and soldiers are tight-aggressive. They posses the ability to control themselves, yet can strike without warning when necessary. A kung-fu fighter is my favorite comparison. Like the policeman and the soldier, a kung-fu master becomes good through hard work and tough training. Letting yourself go forms the basis of the other three poker styles. You are who you are. By contrast, the tight-aggressive style is the product of strenuous work. Even if you are familiar with the theoretical foundations, you must resist impulses such as blind aggression or flight during the actual hand. The kung-fu master must spend years meditating in order to obtain strength of character and a high measure of self-control. He must also master the fighting techniques themselves (this is equivalent to the strategy in poker).

Oddly enough, the TAG acquires exactly the security and control in the long-term, which the rock seeks in the short-term. He plays a statistically accurate game, and therefore receives a long-term and continuous income. Practice is certainly not easy, but if you pass through this difficult school, you will become part of the elite. There is no inherent risk of the fish dying out for friends of poker who take the game seriously.

While the fish make up the general case, the shark constitutes the exception.

Comments (22)

#1 Jman69, 26 Jul 08 03:23

that suked

#2 mouse89, 06 Oct 08 14:29


#3 patatepowa, 16 Nov 08 06:55

why are people spamming ok

#4 SadisticNature, 02 Jan 09 22:51

Try and rework this to be more interactive. It would be a much better article if you tried to actively engage me in thinking about which of the 3 personalities I am and what I need to do to be more comfortable or feel more natural playing TAG.

#5 the182guy, 04 Jan 09 20:30

+1 on the comment by SadisticNature.

#6 Vargan, 08 Jun 09 14:28

To #4 and #5, you should know yourself. ;)

#7 chefminator, 17 Jun 09 15:19

very interesting, but not very helpful

#8 Delfic, 04 Jul 09 00:33

It's a psychological point of view. Many of us will think of it as not very helpful either because our point of view diverges or either because it makes so sense it doen't make sense.

#9 theboydave, 23 Jul 09 01:25

decent read seems accurate.

#10 notaboutme, 29 Sep 09 15:02

I find this article a little unbalancing. Although most of the good poker players are TAGs nowadays, not nearly all TAGs play good poker. Also, a lot of properties are thrown in the mix which definitely do not apply to all TAGs (like being able to pull the emergency brakes on the turn or river when he realizes that he is defeated ;))

LAGs with good emergency brakes or Tight passive players who are excellent at slow playing may also become quite successful. Although I agree that these strategies may not be as optimal as a well performed TAG strategy.

Also, TAG mentality does not only manifest itself in the police force or kung-fu (think of goalkeepers or psychotherapists), and does come naturally with some personalities. In fact, with the modern era of infinite information I believe that an increasing number of people are obtaining traits of being highly selective in their interests, but fanatical in the pursuit of those.

And finally, a lot can be debated on the aggressive part of tight-aggressive. Of course the strong raises to protect your hand are a clear sign of aggressive behavior, but if you raise during play in order to get the most value out of your hand, is it still reasonable to call that "aggressive"?

€0.02 from a Bronze,

#11 Hahaownedlolz, 02 Dec 09 22:19

i find it kinda weird this strategy acts like TAG is the only good strategie.

Also i consider myself loose aggressive but i'm definetly not a person who likes to be in the spot light in real life. So that's theory is very flawed in my opinion.

Don't like the article one bit to be honest. its not based on facts at all. just his opinion.

#12 itamar1991, 05 Jan 10 07:45

In real life it MIGHT be accurate, but I'm afraid that internet poker is like any other online internet games: people sometimes like to pretend that their someone else (e.g. Daniel Negreanu) because it's so easy with online poker! I adjust my style of playing according to the mood I'm at the moment: e.g. Like to bluff and blind-steal more often when I'm in the mood for poker (or feeling good in general :) ), or just playing straight forward to earn the most out of my Nuts.
So personally I find this article quite unnecessary to me because I only play with my friends and online, so I don't need to guess my friends' playing style because I know their style already :)

#13 ilovem0ney22, 19 May 10 18:27

I've always wonder what style is the best and why ? Through experience I came up with the same conclusion: TAGs is the best stategy you should use in 80 % of your game. You can throw in a bit here and there to mix it up but sticking to TAGs is always profitable. Trust the author he spends alot of time on this. 5/5

#14 AleMantovani, 20 Jul 10 15:06

I loved the article. I used to play most of hands tight-agressively, but some times let myself go and became either loose-passive or tight-passive. I will take all this in consideration to become a better player, and to get a better read on my opponents =)

#15 LemOn36, 08 Oct 10 18:01

fuck ima lag personality. I really do need to show off and make shitty calls or bluffs just for my egos sake.dam.

#16 stefko321, 26 Oct 10 14:20

the article is actually great, good job to whoever wrote it

#17 Pouserly2, 12 Aug 11 09:10

Still a good and interesting read.

#18 Gunn56, 29 Aug 11 21:51

im the rock tight n aggressive but without the income lol "hoping to change that though

#19 Mickeymano, 13 Nov 11 17:34

I think a lot of people are missing the real point of this article. It is demonstrating the level of work and dedication required to change your mentality towards poker.
LAG, Calling Station, Rock. It doesn't matter what you are. In the long run unchecked mentalities will run you into problem hands sooner or later. TAG is more about the awareness of this. The practice is a way to run into less problem hands and control loss on the ones you do encounter.

#20 UTGDog, 22 Nov 11 16:35

The actual point of this article is completely being missed here. tight-aggressive doesn't necessarily mean you are only playing premium hands, like most of you leaving negative comments seem to think it suggests. A TAG playing style simply means you are always playing within a set range of starting hands based on your postion at the table, your image at the table (or how your opponents think you are playing), your stack size, and what type of player(s) have already voluntarily entered the pot. TAG players exploit the weaknesses of the other playing styles while suffering minimal damage when involved in hands. The beauty of this playing style is that it is versatile, and can sometimes seem like one of the other playing styles to the untrained eye. To truley play this type of style successfully you must stick to hands you are comfortable playing in the proper positions, and always pay attention to what other players are doing and look for any holes in their game that you can exploit. It's a well balanced style, but it takes practise and discipline to master it.

#21 damadworker, 16 Apr 14 06:19


#22 JoMidas, 29 Jul 14 00:39

loose passive - jackass
loose aggresive - ass hole
tight passive - pussy
tight agressive - kung fu master, emperor of the mighty shield, samurai of the black forest.

I admit... I am a jackass, but can this article be formatted in a way to turn me into Mr. Kung Fu. Please update soon!