While there are literally dozens of different ways to play Surgaplay poker, most players fall into one of a few categories. Many players you encounter will constantly be one specific type of player, while others will go back and forth between different playing styles. Below are the most common types of players you will encounter in the poker world.
The TAG (Tight-Aggressive)
Many people refer to this as the best possible poker playing style, and it is the base from which nearly every good poker player begins his or her career. TAG players only ever play strong hands from a good position, and then play them aggressively by raising and betting. TAG players don’t limp or call very often, and are generally solid players that don’t make crazy bluffs or stupid calls. Most winning players are TAG players.
The Nit (as in “nit-picking”) is sort of like a TAG player, except without the aggressive part. Nits only ever play the top 10% or so of starting hands. They don’t bluff, and if they don’t connect on their pre-flop hand, they usually just fold. Nits can be somewhat successful, as they generally don’t lose very much at the poker table, but don’t tend to win much either.
The LAG (Loose-Aggressive)
LAG players are similar to TAG players in that they are aggressive, but they tend to play a lot wider range of starting hands. A LAG is a player with a VPIP/PFR higher than a TAG, up to around 40/30. LAG players can actually be quite successful if they are skilled, but most of them are not. Usually, they are just fish who think that the more cards they play, the more they can win. For the most part, players with LAG stats are not to be feared.
If Nits are extreme TAG players, then Maniacs are extreme LAG players. They play nearly every hand, no matter what they have. They are always aggressive, constantly betting, raising, and bluffing. They aren’t donks because they do know the rules and strategy of poker and for some bizarre reason actually choose to play this way. If you are playing with a maniac to your left, it can be a very frustrating experience, but if you learn how to deal with them, you can actually make a lot of money off of them.
Donk is short for “donkey”, so that gives you an idea of what kind of player they are. Donks are generally clueless about poker strategy, and may not even know exactly how the game works. They seem to do the exact opposite of what seems smart, and they tend to do strange things like calling an all-in with a 72 offsuit because “any hand can win.” Playing against a donk can be really frustrating at times because there is no way to read or predict them. However, if you can stay calm you can make a lot of money off of them.
Unlike their donk cousins, at least fish know most of the rules of poker and have a basic idea of how the game should be played. But that is about as far as they go. They have a strategy, but it is usually just something they just came up with themselves and actually doesn’t make any sense. They are called fish because they often time try to fish for a winning hand. Many fish will never fold a drawing hand until they’ve seen the river because they are convinced that the next card will give them the best hand, and that extra money in the pot will be theirs. Fish are wonderful opponents.