Author's Note: A LAG is an acronym for a Loose Aggressive player. If you aren't familiar with this term this article might not be intended for you. Go back and play in nice loose passive games and be thankful you don't need to know what a LAG is Smile
LAGs get paid. Say it slowly, to yourself, out loud. What do you think I mean with this simple statement? I don't mean "be the LAG, for it is he who gets the money" though it might be true. No, I mean by you, LAGs get paid by you. When? Whenever you call them and you lose. Why? Because you suck at poker and can't hand-read...just kidding, a little. It's not your fault, LAGs are tough to hand-read - it's their goal in life. Well, that and to make you fold winners, which produces what can only be described as a LAGgasm. Too graphic? Ok maybe just a LAGrection.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, LAGs get paid. I say this to myself on average twice a day, when I'm pokering on the internet. You see I'm not a bad poker player. I have reads on my opponents. I study them. I try to get in their head. And I make notes, so many notes. But most of the notes say things like "don't bluff this LAG" or "bluffs a lot". I play with lots of LAGs and they have many things in common. In fact, at the mid limits online, it's nothing but LAGs! Oh, and a few TAGs, but not as many these days! Mostly just LAGs. I'm probably one of them. Wow, now that's a scary concept: my LAG opponents taking the exact same notes on me, thinking to themselves "this guy always bluffs except against me, all I do is pay him off!" I just had a LAGgasm of my own; I'll need a minute here.
Look, limit hold'em is a game of small edges. Online, shorthanded, mid-limit hold'em is a game of miniscule edges with mightyscule variance because its chock full of these LAGs! They just love to put pressure on you, it's in their nature. They do that by betting whenever they can. Whenever you show weakness. Whenever they pick up a draw. Whenever they flop, turn, or river a pair! And guess what? It is flat out tough to deal with because you just won't make enough monsters to have a nice chuckle and pound the raise button every time one of these LAGs decides he wants to mess around in your pot. When they are running well or you are running poorly, these LAGs appear to have the secret to poker and aren't sharing.
So here's what you have to do: after making the fifth river call in a row with a mediocre hand and staring at a monster in the hands of a nice juicy LAG, take just a moment and say to yourself "LAGs get paid". And mean it. How many river bluffs have you induced with that exact same line? How many desperation donk bets and checkraise bluffs have you picked off, merrily saying to yourself "does he really expect that to work?" How often does he need to be bluffing this time, this hand to make paying him off correct? One in ten maybe? Surely he's that desperate. Of course he is! He's a LAG! They live to bet!
Can I prove I'm right? Not really. I mean, if I had x-many hands against y-many LAGs and was winning z-dollars, would you believe me then? It wouldn't really prove much anyway. I'm speaking in generalities here, it's the best I can do. I believe these LAGs are doing something fundamentally wrong. I believe I can only exploit that wrongdoing through proper payoff-ing. I need to watch out that my favorite LAG doesn't catch on and stops being a silly bluff-happy LAG and turns into a value-betting machine, but I think I can spot that, I'm on the lookout at least. For now you can keep complaining about your non-existent winrate, bitter at the LAGs you play with daily who seem to quit winners way more than they should. Meanwhile I'll be in a game somewhere, making another crying call, paying off another LAG who couldn't help himself and bet at my pot. And he'll probably have a hand this time, and I'll probably lose, and I'll probably say somewhat quietly but not in the least bit bitterly "LAGs get paid" and play another hand.
© 04/2007 by Chris "DeathDonkey" Vitch