October 3, 2011

Are You a TAG Fish?

Many players who find it difficult to break even or to turn a profit without enjoying the benefits of a great poker prop deal are members of a growing group of online players: the TAG fish.
TAG fish can’t make a profit despite the fact that they play good-old basic tight aggressive poker which seems to miraculously work for others. Still worse, because their stats look just fine and they feel like they’re not doing anything wrong, these guys will find it extremely difficult to pick themselves out of the rut and improve. There are TAG fish among poker props too, and some of these guys are even profitable players despite the major shortcomings they have in their games. Here are a few pointers to help you identify whether or not you suffer from the TAG fish syndrome too.

If you always put your opponent on a range, but you never think about your perceived range, you could be a TAG fish. Putting the opposing player on a range is one of the most fundamental skills in poker, there are no two ways about it. The only problem is, the opponent will do the same thing, and he will play the same hand differently, depending on what he thinks you have. It is therefore imperative that a good player first consider his own perceived range. Only then will he be able to accurately position his/her opponent on a range.

Another mistake that TAG fish are prone to making is misapplying fundamental poker skills. A typical TAG fish is someone who’s willing to learn and to put in the required time and effort to improve his game. The problem is that the various skills look so easy on paper or when demonstrated in a video, but they may not be that easy to actually apply. A TAG fish will know that firing out a bet and then giving up is a bad move, therefore, whenever he has something in the pot, he will fire that second barrel without exceptions.
He’ll learn about floating in order to keep frequent c-bettors honest, but he won’t do it on a draw, like he’s supposed to, instead, he’ll just do it with any hand he picks up. He will learn about various spots where bluffing can be profitable, but he’ll fail to secure a plan B before he swings into action.
Poker is a complex game. Simply learning what one has to do is never enough. One also has to know when and how to apply his skills.

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