Dealing with LAG-tards

Dealing with LAG-tards

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dr Tom,
I am playing cash. There is a maniac on my table who raises 5BB every time he’s on the button, when there has been no action behind him. He often continues to play aggressively post flop regardless of whether he hits. Being out of position to this guy is a little tricky as you can imagine.

If I get dealt hands like A-J suited or A-Q off suit, what is the best move pre-flop to this play? If I call and miss I am wasting 5BB. If I raise, he may push over the top or just flat call. But If I miss the flop, then what do I do; a lot of the time he will re-raise.

Jess, London


Dear Jess,

The way to deal with LAGS is to gird your loins with a stout plan and then stick to it as you knuckles whiten and the chips start to pour out of your stack into the middle of the table. LAGS make their living out of fear. They are blessed with less of it than other mortals and it’s your job to turn their advantage to a weakness. That means…dur… play back at them.

Easier said than done, of course.

Hence the plan. It should be a plan for your whole stack – that’s the key. If you have A-J suited decide there and then whether an ace on the flop is a green light for the lot – or indeed, if no ace is required. Decide how you are intending to get it in. Calling LAG down every street? Calling until you have a pot-sized raise left to get it all in? Whatever – it’s up to you. The point is you already know, given certain basic contingencies on the board, what you’re going to do. Believe me, your head will be clearer and your courage stiffer when you’re staring at those freshly dealt hole cards that are in Hold’em’s top ten per cent. LAGS get to work on you on the flop, which you’ve usually missed, preying on your fears.

A plan like this is not hard to form. In NL a 100BB stack that’s had pre-flop action will be pot committed with bet-call on the flop and bet-raise on the turn. It’s pointless me saying whether you should stay or go when you miss, because it will depend on the board and what cards he and you have been showing. Remember that, if your starting values are reasonably high (and A-J suited is high against this guy), then even if you miss you always have some drawing value.

Sure, it would be nice to have x-ray vision or, failing that, super-user privileges, but unfortunately you’re not always going to get it right. The only thing you can definitely do is take his fear advantage away from him and the best way to do that is to have mentally put your chips in already when the board comes the way you want it. This will sharpen up your play against tighter players to and improve your overall table presence.


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy,