How to play against Aggressive Players
Play Poker » How to play against Aggressive Players
The most basic thing to do in a poker game when playing against an aggressive player is to let them build the pot. This is something that is easier said than done, but it is the most effective way to increase the size of a pot. How you let them build the pot is either by checking to them and then calling or by just calling their bets in position. The only reason to raise them is if you think they are going to call a raise or re-raise you. At all costs against an aggressive player you should avoid calling and building a big pot with a weak to marginal hand or if you think they will call a big raise or re-shove over the top.
A more advanced way to look at an aggressive player or someone who will continuously play pots and commit a great deal of chips to certain pots is to trap them. Sometimes you can trap them by snagging a weird drawing hand like a gut shot straight draw or spiking a disguised set. With hands like these you don’t want to check them you want to lead right out with them. The reason for leading right out with a hand like a set is because to an aggressive player this looks very weak. If you lead out at the pot you can trap them into thinking you are weak and have them put in a big raise with a far worse hand. Most players will lead out a great portion of the time with marginal hands like middle pair or top pair with a weak kicker. This is the reason why you lead out with disguised hands because it plays exactly the same as a marginal hand. You can rake in a monster pot against an aggressive player taking a line like this in a pot.
One thing not to do against an aggressive player is to try and bluff. If someone at your table is playing every single hand dealt they are far more prone to raise you in every single hand. However, there is one spot where a bluff is alright against an aggressive player. This spot is if you are out of position on the flop. What you will do almost every time is check to the pre-flop aggressor, so, if you are playing a hand defending your blinds you can make this play work. The play you are going to use is a check raise. Against almost every opponent in this spot you will check and they will bet the flop regardless of the board. The key is to make this raise on a dry board. This means you want to put in a check raise on a board of something like Q 5 3 with no flush draws out there. The reason for this is because your opponent can almost never just float a check raise with nothing. Even aggressive players slow down when a check raise comes at them on that type of board. Most of the time they will just fold their hand because what could they try to represent and a great deal of the time they cannot put you on a hand. It is one of those times in a game where you are putting an extreme amount of pressure on your opponent to make the correct decision. For them to win the pot they will have to jam their stack in over the top of you and have you fold. That is two things that they have to have go right as opposed to just betting and winning.
When playing poker online against aggressive players you will get value for a hand eventually if you wait them out long enough or you can outplay them in certain spots. The key to it all is picking the correct times to do so. If you can let them hang themselves this is the ideal strategy because eventually you can cooler them or get them to commit a bunch of chips to a pot with a marginal hand.
Related strategy pages: