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Micro stakes and NIT vs TAG assumptions

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Micro stakes and NIT vs TAG assumptions - Thu Apr 03, 2014, 07:50 AM
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baud2death's Avatar
Since: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,249
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Hi guys,

I have a few assumptions on LAG, NIT and TAG and wanted to make sure I was understanding things right

NIT = predictably only play top 5 hands and when they hit the flop they give everyone a good reason to fold, thus they get blinded down because they are often only winning the preflop raise/calls and the very occasional big pot. They typically won't get action unless they are up against a cooler or a very loose player
LAG = predictably play any Ace, connected broadway cards (or 1 gapers) and any suited connector. They will pay off better hands and willing to see a showdown with weak holdings and willing to go all in with top pair weak kicker
TAG = Can typically come across as a NIT player but knows how to play position with weaker holdings and has to have something top notch for early position plays. When he has a good hand he is willing to bet big and will often win at showdown baring any unlucky turns after the money gets in

Now here is some of my issues

In a larger stake game, I can reckon that the difference between a NIT and LAG is obvious and the TAG exploits both of these players in the right position.

However for a TAG style to work well, it is important that your perceived hand is taken into account. If you have played early pots with AA, AK, QQ, AQ etc then you are expecting your opponents to know that you play few hand but when you do, you are in strong and have a strong hand. This way you can hope to limit the opponents that come into a hand to a certain hand range (they know you have QQ and AQ so they will try to challenge you with their AK) and have bluff options if you don't hit and neither do they if you have position and if they do hit, you can make sure that your hand is dominating before playing back at them.

In the micro stakes, opponents have little concept about what you have. You can play tight for ages only ever getting involved with AA/KK/AK at showdown and then raise from UTG, your opponent will be willing to get it in with Jh7s when the flop comes with a Jack, a King and 2 spades, he won't care that you could have better.

So with that type of opponent in mind, a bluff fails. It fails because in that spot you could have air and be representing anything better than Jacks, even an obvious. King but he will chase nothing.

Perceived hands mean nothing in micro stakes typically and least of all when it matters
If you c-bet the flop and get a call, you can fire a barrell every street with just an Ace-high flush draw semi bluff and they will still call you on the river with a shove and just have bottom pair or 22.

So for that reason my style is to play very tight early on. I will set mine, perhaps a suited connector if I have good position but overall won't raise with anything other than AK/AQ/AA/KK and only go to war with AA.
If I don't hit the flop, early on I will only c-bet 1-2 opponents and then only if an obvious scare like an Ace or flush/straight is showing and I have position. Regardless, if I c-bet, I am check/folding unimproved on the turn.

I will be willing to goto war post flop with top pair, decent kicker (ie with holdings like KQ, AJ-AK) and if I have position, I can easily fold regardless to any massive strong action where I am not dominating with top two pair or better..

Also, micro stake opponents chase draws so if the river comes with a wet card, I can respect a large bet from the calling station in that spot even with trips.


Then when the blinds go up, the relative stack / blind ratio is smaller and the fish players either tighten up or carry on being loose. The tighter ones you can exploit for steals or pushing off a hand with a good c-bet. The looser ones (the ones who have a big stack usually and just want to keep taking shots regardless) you still have to treat them as if it is early stages, they didn't get scared when the levels went up because their stack is still high in BB and the loose player will see no difference between 100bb at the start or 100bb at the mid stages. They will get good steals and keep adding to their stack but when they call shoves light or are willing to chase bottom pair for half their stack, they argue it away by saying that they still have big stacks left.

It is important to know when this player is loose fish and TAG. TAG will play a lot of pots but have the best hand whenever you see it or if not a strong one. Loose fish will win the occasional pot but if you rabbit through the muck you will see that when he bombs, he does so on weak hands and looses just as much as he wins and when he wins it's luck or being against a weaker fish.

When johnathan duhamel won the 2010 wsop, in an interview he commented on the hand against Matt affleck where he was JJ vs AA and he got it in, only to river the straight and go onto the final table. He said "poker is about taking risks sometimes and if I lose I would still have 30 or so big blinds so I made the call"

Now, mr main event winner is way out of my league and operates at a risk/reward level I probably couldn't fathom but most of the time, this mentality gets you in trouble and is the motto of the loose fish with a big stack

So in the mid stages, I pick my opponent and will bully the nits and punish the bit stack looseys when I have them dominated knowing that typically they will pay to showdown but only really go over your head with a strong hand and depending on if you have a cooler,you can still dodge the fish if they caught a hand.

Later stages I treat pretty much like mid except that I give the players a bit more respect for initial hands. In a large enough field, it is hard to get to the FT on luck alone and unless I can see evidence that alone player is a. LAG, I can give him respect for TAG and judge as I go



The main point of my post is to ask, is this smart thinking?
Am I right that in micro stakes, it is hard to be anything other than tight early on and wait until you have a hand to crush your opponent rather than in larger stakes where opponents will be trickier and in turn you can be trickier... And opponents give you respect for having a stronger hand even when you don't, meaning that you can exploit an early NIT image (where perhaps you didn't get the best spot to play) and make a position raise with a promotable hand like Broadway 1 gappers aiming for either a nice straight or two pair if high cards show or a bluff against lots of low cards because your opponent can put you on a hand they can't continue against.
 

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