How To Deal With Aggressive Poker Players
If you’re a fan of poker, you’ve probably played against an aggressive player before. Whenever you’ve decided on a hand to play and choose to enter the pot, you can always count on them to re-raise or try to bluff you. In such cases, you’ve probably told yourself that all you need is patience and a stronger hand to win his money. But, there are better tactics for winning against aggressive poker players. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of strategies you can use to beat aggressive poker players on your left. Continue reading to find out more!
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The first strategy, trapping, involves using an aggressive player’s biggest weakness against him. You see, aggressive poker players are bad at controlling their own aggression. If they think that other players have a weaker hand, they’re most likely going to continue re-raising or bluffing.
So, even if you have a strong hand, you should refrain from re-raising them, no matter how tempting it may be. Instead, you should just call every now and then.
By doing so, you’re encouraging them to continue with their bluff even though you probably hold the strongest hand. After, you can carry on trapping them by checking or calling. Alternatively, you can also decide to raise them.
Tightening up is another important tactic you should employ when dealing with aggressive players. To tighten up, you need to play with a smaller number of hands than what you would usually play with.
When you’re dealing with an aggressive player on your left, you’re at a natural disadvantage. This is because the player gets to observe what you do after the flop and gets to go last for most hands.
Unless you’re a much better poker player than he is, your position puts you on the losing end. Therefore, in order to prevent the player from bluffing or re-raising you, your best option is to tighten up and play fewer hands.
In addition, playing tight gives you a range advantage when you finally choose to enter the pot. This means that your range of calling hands is stronger than your opponent’s. You’ll also have more options to choose from when going against aggressive layers.
Besides tightening up, you should also bluff re-raise. If an aggressive player raises you after you’ve entered the pot with an okay, but not amazing hand, this is the time to bluff re-raise them.
By doing so, you increase your range and signal to the aggressive player that you won’t back down so easily. Unless your opponent’s hand is super strong, he’ll most likely take the hint and surrender as well,
But, with bluff re-raising, it is crucial that you don’t do it too often. Bluff re-raise only when you are playing with premium hands. This way, you can trick your opponent into believing that you’ll only bluff re-raise when you have a strong hand.
Semi-Bluff the Flop or Turn
One other strategy you can also consider is to semi-bluff an aggressive player after the flop. To do so, you should choose to play hands such as straight downs or combos. Though such hands may not be the strongest, they allow you to play fast.
When you employ this strategy, you open up more ways to win. For example, you can win by making the strongest hand afterward or leaving your opponents no choice but to fold.
It is highly unlikely that your opponent has a strong hand during every round so semi-bluffing is a great tactic to use against aggressive players.
Similar to bluff re-raising, you shouldn’t semi-bluff too often. If you do, your opponent is probably going to figure out your gameplay and will most likely call you down.
Just leave the table
Last but not least, the final thing you can do when dealing with an oppressive poker player on your left is to not play at all. That’s right, sometimes the best thing to do is realize that it isn’t worth your effort to play, and leave the game! This, of course, assumes that you aren’t playing in a high stakes tournament and have a lot of reputation resting on this game. In that case, well this method is probably not the best to be used. But if you’re just a normal, mortal poker player, this might be your best choice.
Weighing the costs and benefits of your position during a game is important to know whether or not it is worth it to continue playing. It might sound weak to leave a game, but if you are up against a super-aggressive opponent who also has a direct position on you, they’ll have a lot more advantage against you.
This goes especially so if you are playing online when the stakes are lower. If the player to your left is simply way too skilled and you can’t manage them, the game isn’t worth all the stress and anxiety. One of the big mistakes that many people make in poker is to get trapped in these long drawn-out games with high skilled players and end up fighting losing battles while also forgetting that the prize is profits. In these undesirable situations, you end up playing with budgets instead of bankrolls. In poker, the money comes out of the pockets of the unskilled players who constantly make fundamental mistakes. It isn’t because of the aggressiveness of skilled players on the left who are re-raising at every hand.
Letting your ego and pride get to you during a poker game will only be to your loss. Picking the right battles and knowing when to leave a losing one is a skill that poker players need to learn. Don’t see it as weak to pack up and leave an online poker game, it’s a smart tactic that the cleverer players will do.
Obviously, having an aggressive player to your left is a pretty tough spot to be in. The natural advantage of their position can be pretty hard to win. There are pretty few advantages and this situation, so the best way is to get defensive and prevent yourself from losing too much. Using a mix of the above tactics when the time calls for it can definitely give you a little advantage in these hard situations. And don’t forget, you can always leave the table if you think there isn’t anything left in the game for you.