Thinking Poker: Fighting Back, Part 1 (Aggression)

Aggression in poker is important in this complicated game. There are times when aggressive play is not only necessary, but absolutely essential. Playing aggressive poker well involves betting and raising when you have an advantage over your opponents. In this case, aggression once again gives us an added dimension to our play that can equal more chips and a bigger bankroll. But your opponent is a standard player and if he was on a straight draw, there's a very good chance he just filled up on the final card. You will take the stack of AA barring a resuck on any flop that hits you hard.

Top 10 Reasons to Being Aggressive in Poker

Guide to Playing Tight, Aggressive Poker

Uh oh, now what? Your opponent could now be holding a wide range of hands. He could be saying "no way" to your flop bet, believing you to be making a continuation bet with a hand like A-K. Or, he could get tricky and be semi-bluffing with a hand containing a 10 or maybe two hearts.

He could even be taking a stab at the pot with absolutely nothing like Now do you see how hard it is not to make mistakes? This is why is important to play tight. Your decisions become easier, and easy decisions result in fewer mistakes and therefore waste less money. Yes, you may fold hands which are winners, but it is better to make a small pre-flop mistake, than a big post-flop one.

The ability to play marginal hands well is the hallmark of an expert poker player, and even they are not immune to costly screw ups. Stick to premium hands and play tight aggressive. Your bankroll will thank you. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep changing your playing style to prevent them from spotting patterns that they can exploit.

This will enable you to become a constant winner. In addition, some players will take offence at your aggressive play, considering it a personal insult against them. They may play back at you constantly, or wait to trap you with a check-raise. If you keep changing gears, throwing in some loose play along with your standard tight aggressive style, you should be able to keep your opponents guessing and keep your profits at a maximum.

Understanding when to get aggressive and when to let go is fundamental to this style of play. We are therefore going to wrap up with two examples that should serve to illustrate when you should bark and when you should bite. You haven't pulled off any obscene bluffs and you don't think anyone has any particular reason to believe you're betting with air.

You are holding J-J and your pre-flop raise gets three callers, with the board falling A You figure that there was a good chance no-one had an ace and bet again. Two players fold, leaving you and one opponent to continue. The Turn brings a 7 and you bet again, hoping to charge your opponent for chasing a draw and to try and prevent a medium pair from spiking two pair.

Your opponent calls your Turn bet and a 5 comes on the River. This puts you in a tight spot. You have been playing aggressive, so do you fire a third barrel on the River? Against a calling station you can bet away as they will call with all sorts of hands and you are likely to have them beat. But your opponent is a standard player and if he was on a straight draw, there's a very good chance he just filled up on the final card.

However, as a rule of thumb, don't bet on the River unless you can:. If you now bet and he check-raises, you will almost certainly have to lay your hand down.

Take the free showdown and see if you win. There is a good chance you do not have the best hand here, so caution is the key. You are sat on the button and look down at A-K, raising a single limper pre-flop. The big blind and the limper both call, and the flop comes K The big blind checks, but the limper now bets into you. Neither player has shown any signs of being maniacs or calling stations. So what do you do? Do you raise him?

Raising this flop is not necessarily good. If you raise his flop bet, there are only a few hands he can be holding which he will call with and not have you beat. He is more likely to check-raise the flop with something like K-T and would normally just call a bet if he was holding a So if you raise and he folds you have let him get away without making a mistake.

Calling a single bet here is a worse mistake for him than folding to two bets. Give him the chance to make that mistake. Thus the correct play would be to just call, giving the big blind a chance to make a more expensive mistake.

You can then trap him on the Turn for two big bets. What you should recognize in this hand is that there are no profitable draws available on the board, and your hand is not very vulnerable which makes raising less profitable.

However, when holding a hand like , on an board, you should definitely raise because almost the entire deck consists of scare cards for you. Raising thus becomes imperative. You must learn to analyze the flop texture and see these differences to time your aggression correctly. Tight aggressive poker is all about careful, solid play that is geared to minimize your mistakes, while pushing your opponent to make them.

By following this style and understanding when to change gears and when to apply the brakes, you will continually rack up good wins against the majority of the opponents you will face in cash games. But always remember that this playing style is no silver bullet. Tight aggressive poker play still has vulnerabilities that a good player will exploit. Nevertheless, it should definitely be part of your poker arsenal and you should wield this weapon mercilessly whether you play online or live.

Guide to Playing Tight, Aggressive Poker. Example 1 To river bet, or not to river bet? Aggression is called for in particular circumstances. Very strong starting hands should be played very aggressively most of the time. A very strong propositional hand — one that is more likely to win with a straight or a flush — is one of the hands that can be played for effect with an aggressive style. Such aggression is deceptive, as the low and unpaired ranks of the starting hand require much improvement to win.

This is beneficial for two reasons:. The second reasoning is what is known as "advertising" in poker. It can be very profitable for a player to convince the other players at the table that he is willing to gamble with less than premium cards. The result is larger pots when the aggressive player has tremendously strong hands. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article does not cite any sources.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. Index of poker articles Outline of poker. Fundamental theorem of poker Morton's theorem Pot odds Slow play.

WHAT IS AGGRESSION IN POKER ALL ABOUT?