Aggressiveness in Poker (Handling Aggressiveness)
Welcome to my personal blog for CoinPoker! After playing and placing In-The-Money in the most recent NLH One Million Freebuy tournament, I wanted to prepare a special series about aggressiveness in poker (handling aggressiveness). As such, we are taking a momentary break from the blogs about best openings in Open Face Chinese Poker in order to go back to the roots of No Limit Hold’em play. Shuffle up and deal!
Aggressiveness is a good thing but there is a “but”…
As we saw over the last four blog posts it’s a common belief that in the Hold’em Poker world, you have to be very aggressive in order to win.
However, in order to know how aggressive one should be, there will be a few factors needed to be taken into consideration, such as your level of play, the game format you are playing, the style of play of your opponents, as well as handling super aggressive players.
We ended that last post by remembering that being over-aggressive does not give magical powers, and that these aggro players will still have the same shitty cards as any other players at the table.
As such, if the crazy player you’re playing with faces a lot of resistance, he will back off with most of his shitty hands. So, what’s the best way to counterattack?
Imagine that your ultra-aggressive opponent is going crazy pre-flop, like always, because he wants to put pressure on you with his 10-3 of heart, he 4-bets you… while smiling. If you 5-bets him… he will probably give up.
Indeed, he’s aggro, not suicidal. He will detect that you hold a big hand since you are finally fighting back, so he will just wait for the next hand to start raising again.
When you understand that, you also understand why you cannot wait to hold premium hands to make these moves!
Indeed, if you wait to have a pair of aces to 5-bets your aggressive opponent, he will KNOW that you have such a big hand and he will fold immediately, leaving you with no action at all, and only a small pot to grab.
On the opposite, if you do this regularly without holding premium hands, your aggro player will realise that it’s impossible for you to have premium hands this frequently, and he will therefore be in a position where he can’t read you anymore.
As such, he will be more inclined to back off from playing pots against you, and he will prefer going after weaker players at your table.
Try to picture this as if each player was in their own shell; the aggressive player keeps raising and his opponents are scared and are hiding in their shells. Once in a while, someone receives a big hand and thinks, “now, I will punish this aggro guy who’s been running over us and I will bust him out with my aces”.
Well, I’m sorry to say, but unless the aggro guy himself holds a huge hand, there is no way you will bust him out! He will fold 100% of the time, because you finally got out of your shell and became super easy to read.
A player who masters aggression will raise 75%-90% of his hands because if his opponents don’t hold great cards, they will fold over and over again, allowing him to easily win small pots, one after the other.
That’s how he will build a nice pile of chips, thanks to this big aggro factor. Because of that, even when he will lose a big pot, he will still have chips in front of him to fight back and re-build a decent stack.
In that sense, aggression pays off, because it takes advantage of the other players’ passiveness. There will always be one player at a table who is more aggressive than the others, that’s how this game works. Aggression is a weapon. And like any weapon, you have to learn how to use it, otherwise, it can backfire…
Rendezvous next week for the continuation of these series of tips on Aggressiveness in Poker!
Meet me at the tables on CoinPoker to practice your skills and enjoy the action. Open yourself a CoinPoker account today!
Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier
OFC “Progressive” World Champion
Read the previous part here: Aggressiveness In Poker (“Bully The Bully” situation)
Read the next part here: Aggressiveness In Poker (Staying Unpredictable)