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  • Being Aggressive In Poker

    aggressive poker strategyAggressive play is more important now than it has ever been. There used to be a time where players could sit back, wait to catch cards, and still make a profit, these days are largely gone.  If you watch any televised poker shows, be it cash games or tournaments, you will regularly hear the announcers mentioning the “aggressive internet players.” The advent of online poker has allowed players to try out new playing styles, TAG play being the most popular. TAG stands for tight aggressive. Most of today’s top online and even live pros would be considered TAGs. There are so many benefits to being a TAG that it is the obvious choice. A TAG style mixes a little bit of tight play with a lot of aggression. Aggressiveness shouldn’t be confused with recklessness, however. This is a problem that players often run into as there is a fine line between aggressive play and reckless play.

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    How to play aggressive

    Aggressive poker players learn best with practice. Tight players can simply be taught how to play tight; it’s easy, just pick a defined range of hands and play them close to the vest. Aggressive players vary from these tight players in that they don’t define an exact range of playable hands and are always playing their hand to its fullest potential. An aggressive player would 3 bet with AK, a tight player might simply call the raise. Both will be playing the same hand, but they play it in a different way. If the flop comes A K 7 the tight player might elect to check call while the tight player would check raise. Aggressive players are usually more creative in their tactics than other players as well. An aggressive player might check raise for value one time and as a bluff the next. A tight player, however, will only check raise for value. Aggressiveness is best achieved through controlled unpredictability. An aggressive player knows what he is doing and why he is doing it.

    Playing recklessly

    It is easy to step over the line between aggressive play and reckless play. Even the best players in the world do it from time to time. Reckless play can stem from anger or a simple misapplication of aggressive play. A player that is on tilt will often start to play very recklessly. They might do this by 3 betting pre flop with nothing, raising every single flop bet that is made, or overbetting a pot completely unnecessarily. This type of reckless play is easily corrected. As soon as a player like this takes a break they will be able to reflect on how they are playing. This, of course, assumes that they are otherwise a solid player.

    A misapplication of aggression is the other common way that players begin to play recklessly. Many players will intend to play in a solid aggressive manner, but not really know what that manner is. Perhaps they think that JJ is truly a hand that would be profitable to be all in pre flop with. A TAG poker player would know that JJ is rarely good when all in pre flop, but a reckless player might take it for face value and assume its strength means it is worthy of being an all in hand. If you are running into these types of problems the best solution is to reevaluate your game. Take a step back, see what you are doing, and compare it to what winning players are doing. After doing this most players will be able to see the difference between proper aggressive play and their reckless play, as evidenced by the JJ example.