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LAG

February 15, 2008

I want to start to gear up for developing my LAG play. (Ghosts of my troubled period right after attempting to add aggression to my play last spring start to perk up)

Short handed, high blinded, or in late position unopened or at a weak table I can play LAG, at least preflop. After the flop, only when the blinds are high do I continue to play LAG (pressuring uncoordinated boards or with mid or bottom pairs). But what I would like to be able to do is shift gears at will when at a standard ring game when I realize that the table is tight.

I need to have a clear idea of

  1. what a LAG is trying to accomplish,
  2. how he expects to do it
  3. what reactions to expect
  4. how to deal with those reactions

If I go back to Doyle Brunson, the original LAG, he takes stabs at pots, raises/calls with suited connectors, and is constantly testing the waters to see how people react. Gus Hansen is a modern version, who likes to play OOP because it gives him first chance to make first play at the pot. By getting in there, they’re taking chances at big hands by playing more hands, while creating pressure for the opposition by constantly saying, “do you have something? I may or may not, but it will cost you to find out.” Daniel Negreanu plays a lot of pots too, but likes to control pot size and will often limp when he can see a cheap flop. Maybe this is more appropriate for limp/calling tables where preflop raises and c-bets are doing nothing but building pots. He says small ball doesn’t work at tight tables where they won’t pay you off. Brunson tends to be more aggressive preflop, putting the pressure on from the beginning and setting himself up to be table captain. This will only work if the other players recognize the situation and not limp/call with Q5s that catches the 5 on the low flop, then catches the Q on the turn after your c-bet.

A LAG is trying to win lots of small pots without resistance, while building big pots when he has the goods because people won’t believe him. At low limits preflop raising doesn’t protect strong drawing hands much, but stabbing at pots that have drawn little interest couldn’t hurt much, or testing the interest of weak players. But, you don’t want to test calling stations with air.

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