When it comes to poker, it is important to develop a specific playing style that will help you to maximize your bankroll. Though there are various styles to play, but the advice that is generally given is to “be more aggressive”. Irrespective of the variant, players are often told that playing aggressively is the best poker strategy for beginners and advanced players.
Learning how to play online poker aggressively is the main part of making the transition from winning players to sharks. There are various benefits to show poker aggression when playing online, and failing to do so lowers the chances of winning. But specifics on how and when to use it are less when playing the game virtually.
Before we discuss how and when you should use poker aggression when playing the game, first, let’s understand what it actually is.
What is aggression in poker?
Aggressive play is the opposite of passive, where you make raises and bets more often rather than just checking and calling at every point during hands. Aggression has very little to do with whatever hands you choose to play. Rather, it has something to do with how willing you are to increase your risks and bets.
Importance of aggression in an online poker game
Aggression is the main part of the poker game. When it comes to playing poker, the ability to play aggressively is crucial. This is especially true when playing Texas Hold’em poker. It is a game that is all about conflict, and it is not a game for the weak. This is why playing aggressively is essential for success. It is the core truth of the game that we are all faced with every time we sit down to play. We are seeking to outwit our opponents and take their money. As the late great Jack Straus once stated, “I’d even bust my own grandmother if she played poker with me.”
There are certain situations when it is better to be deceitful and call pre-flop with a strong hand or check-call a monster hand after the flop. Even aggressive players do it once in a while. However, the main difference is they are mixing up their gameplay - as compared to tight-passive players who only call when they should possibly raise because of fear of losing.
You may also read about the Top 10 ‘pre-flop hands’ in poker
The main disadvantage to a passive approach is that there is only one method to win the pot, i.e. when you have a strong hand. Whereas, there are two ways to win the pot with an aggressive style - when you already have the best hand and when you persuade your opponent to fold their strong hand, thereby giving the pot to you. For instance, if you were aggressive on the pre-flop, based on what are the community cards on the flop, you can continue to bet aggressively and often win the hand even if you miss entirely.
How to use aggression in online poker?
Players who frequently open-raise and three-bet a lot appear to be aggressive. Even rookie players soon realize that only a small percentage of starting hands are good enough to raise or re-raise. Therefore, if a player raises or re-raises more frequently than the suggested percentage, they show pre-flop aggression.
Players who consistently raise to target pre-flop limpers are also showing aggression. These players are those who use the squeeze play (i.e. re-raises after there has been a raise and call).
On the flop, poker aggression can be shown in a variety of ways. One such form is a continuation bet that retains the initiative with the preflop raiser. Check-raising is also another way (particularly aggressive move). To float the flop in poker is another move that aggressive players make. This often involves calling a bet with a weak or marginal hand on the flop either by betting or raising as bluff on a later street.
The river can also bring “scary” cards that can probably improve drawing hands. Whether your opponents do it or not, a big river overbet, whether for value or as a bluff, would be a sign of aggression.
All these moves mentioned above clearly depend on the situation. In any situation, a player who makes these moves constantly is usually aggressive. Also, if the moves are effective as well as well-timed, that player becomes a challenging opponent to play against.
When to show poker aggression in online poker?
Let’s take a look at some of the situations when it is likely reasonable to use poker aggression when playing on the internet.
Poker aggression against tight opponents:
Tight players will usually involve themselves with the hands which they believe have potential. Thus, if they don’t have strong cards, they will often fold pre-flop or on the flop. As a result, one may claim that they mostly doubt their hand. So, attacking is a great technique to use against such opponents in order to make them doubt and even possibly fold their hands. Therefore, when playing poker on digital sites, whenever you see a tight player starts fighting back against all your pre-flop raises, three-bets, and post-flop pot-stealing bets - that is when it is probably the time to stop being aggressive and let your hands go.
Poker aggression against weak hands:
Another situation where aggression is considered beneficial is for the players who play passively after the flop. Particularly, when your opponent calls or checks after the flop, it is likely that they are hoping for stronger cards on the turn or the river. In such a situation, you should play the game aggressively and intimidate them into folding. But keep in mind that their betting poker strategy might also include bluffing as well.
Against opponents who think you are tight:
Maybe you are a tight poker player - in fact, a tight-aggressive style can be a profitable one if used correctly. Or perhaps you have had a terrible run of starting hands and haven’t been able to play for a while. In any case, if your opponents think you are tight, an unexpected display of aggression is likely to gain respect. You can use aggression as bluffing. Imagine being a tight player with 10-plus hands and then all of a sudden start playing aggressively. In reality, it is not necessary to have a premium hand, but you can bluff your way out just by making your opponents think that you have very good cards.
Adding aggression to your pro poker tips and strategy allows you to steal more pots that do not belong to you. As long as you can figure out when your opponent actually has a monster hand that they do not intend to fold, you can gradually collect a mountain of chips. Of course, it is difficult at first to become an aggressive player, particularly if you are a beginner, where passively calling with draws and limping into pots is a common online poker strategy. As Doyle Brunson greatly said, “The key to no-limit is to put a man to a decision for all his chips.”
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