How to Play Aggressive Poker

You see the phrase everywhere. It’s in every book and on every site and you’ve read it several times on this site alone: Aggressive poker is winning poker. But what makes one guy a passive poker player and another aggressive? What is aggressive poker and how do you play it? Here are a few tips to help you become a feared force at any poker table.

Know If You’re Loose Or Tight
There are two kinds of aggressive players: tight-aggressive players and loose-aggressive players. Both can be long-term winners at the poker table, but tight-aggressive is the best style for beginners to use. Loose-aggressive play requires more skill to be profitable and even then it has more variance than tight-aggressive play. Ultimately the choice is yours, but take my advice and choose tight-aggressive.

Make Your Opponents Pay To Play
The main difference between a passive player and an aggressive player is that an aggressive player bets and raises while a passive player checks and calls. If you’re going to enter a pot preflop, tend to enter it with a raise.

In addition, pay attention to the hand you’re playing. If you’re planning to call any reasonable be your opponent makes, it’s usually better to be the one to bet. When you bet, you become the aggressor and take control of the hand. Now your opponent has to be the one to make a hard decision.

Apply Pressure When You’re In Position
Apply pressure to your opponents when you have superior table position. If you’re opponents are checking to you and you don’t think they’re the type to trap, go ahead and make a bet to see if you can steal the pot from them.

If your opponent makes a blocker bet and you have a strong hand, put in a raise and make them pay to see the next card.

Always be aware of the size of the pot and what odds your opponent needs to draw to their hand profitably. Your bet should be just enough to ruin your opponent’s pot odds.

Know When To Stop
A common mistake new players make is to get too aggressive. They bet and raise every time the opportunity presents itself. If your game becomes one of blind aggression, your opponents will start noticing and they’ll start trapping your overaggressive poker play. Soon you won’t know if your opponents’ weaknesses really are weaknesses or just traps designed to get you to bluff at the pot.

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The good news is that aggressive poker, especially tight-aggressive poker, is easy to play. All you have to do is choose strong hands to begin with and play them strong and you’ll come out a winner. The bad news is that aggressive poker takes guts – guts that not every player has. Proper bankroll management will help by making sure you never risk a large portion of your bankroll at one time. Never play with money you can’t afford to lose or you’ll never be able to play with the courage you need to be an aggressive player.