Is Aggression in No-Limit Hold'em Overly Simplified?
© 2017 by M. Mitch Freeland
Aggression is important to winning poker and the idea of playing tight but aggressive has been stressed by pros for years.
In no-limit, yes, it is overly simplified. In limit, aggression is the best. In most situations in limit play you raise or fold. I will rarely call a hand in limit unless I plan to set up for a raise on another street. In no-limit it is different. Here is an example: Last night I played A♦ 4♦ on the button in a multi-way pot. Six others in an unraised pot. I raised hoping for a big flop. Four players called. The flop was 4♣ 4♠ Q♦. There was a bet from the cutoff. I called and the big blind called. The turn card 9♠. The blind checked. The cutoff bet. I called. The blind folded. The 7♣ fell on the river. The cutoff now checked with only $20 left in his stack. I bet $20. He called. I won. He hit his queen on the flop. Now in a limit game I would have probably raised on the flop or the turn. But in no-limit you have to figure out how you are going to get your opponent to put in all of his chips when you have a strong hand. Sometimes you have to let up, slow down, and let your opponent be the aggressor. This is so true with maniacs who will continue betting any hand, but once you show strength, they stop. So the idea here is not to show strength. Let them keep beating until all their chips are in the pot. This is especially true if your opponent is short stacked. You won't be getting much, so you might as well get it all. Once you start to raise, your loose player will put the brakes on--he will stop betting.
There seems to be more loose players now than there were twenty years ago. So when everybody is loose, you tighten-up. Trapping becomes extremely profitable against players who play mediocre hands for big bets. When you've got a big hand, sit back and plan how you are going to get your opponent to get all of his money in the pot.
Against a passive player you can run over them by betting and controlling the pot. But, against a loose player, playing with one speed, it's time to slow down.
Learn more about winning poker strategies in The Small Stakes Poker Hustle. Available now at MitchFreeland.com.