Playing on the Aggressive Side

If there’s one thing in common about winning players, it would be that they don’t hesitate to be aggressive when the need arises.  Aggression is not simply bluffing and raising the pot blindly, but it means having the confidence to grab hold of opportunities in situations when opportunities come by.  Playing aggressively also means folding cards when you need to, even those good cards which turned sour post-flop.  This holds true for online poker as well as live poker.

Why and When should You Opt for an Emotional Overdrive?

A confident, aggressive stance on the poker table is an effective and flexible tool that could help you get things done over the poker table.  Being tight and aggressive has always been part of advice of expert poker players, gurus, and observers.  You know why?  Because by being aggressive, coupled with other aspects in poker like common sense and mathematical understanding, it allows you to deliver different methods of winning both in the short and the long run.  Here are some things you can do with it.

    • Isolation.  Want to do some mano a mano with one player on the table?  Betting and raising the bets can send a clearer message across the table than checks and call.  Aggressive betting not only makes it costly for your opponents to play in the game, it also sends a signal that you’re holding a good cards.  Not a good combination for someone with an inferior hand.
      • Pot value.  You’re holding pocket aces in a JhAsKd flop?  Make the most out of your lucky strike by using aggressive tactics to make the pot bigger.  Raise the bets to make players pay entrance fee for the river, but not big enough to make everyone else fold and leave you with a measly sum.
        • Bluffing.  Now, who says you have to have the nuts for you to be an aggressive player?  Use your aggressive stance to shake the hell out of your opponents.  If you have been doing some pretty good plays before, why not take advantage of your table image to make those less-than-nuts and relative inferior cards win some?  Be cautious though, and make sure you don’t get caught dead doing it.

          The Value of Controlling Your Aggression

          Of course, aggression would be meaningless if not dangerous if you couldn’t control it.  Good, aggressive players only know too well that uncontrolled aggression will do nothing but bring their chip over the side of the opponent.  Poker players need to know that it’s okay to be aggressive, to try finding the available means to protect and maximize the wins of winning cards, as well as making sure you collect every bit of information about playing behavior of your opponents.  But it is also important to protect yourself from unnecessarily loses, from emotional tilt, and from giving yourself away.

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