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Playing Aggressive in No Limit Texas Hold'em

Aggression is the key to winning in no limit holdem. If you stop and watch the top online poker players, you'll notice they are all aggressive. They bet and raise way more often than they check and call. Aggression gives you control of the hand and lets you decide how each hand plays out. With well-tempered aggression, you become a terrifying force at the poker tables.

When I speak of aggression, I'm not referring to blind aggression. Aggression doesn't mean randomly betting, raising and bluffing for the hell of it. It means playing your strong hands fast to get money in the pot and folding when you don't have anything decent. Aggression is simply betting and raising when you have to goods and bailing out when you don't.

Aggression Before the Flop

Playing with aggression before the flop serves several purposes. First of all, it gets money in the middle when you have a strong hand. Hands like AK are worth betting with because, even though they don't win every time, they win more than their fair share of pots.

Every time someone puts money in against a stronger hand, the person with the stronger hand gains. If someone wants to try to suck out on you with an inferior hand, you should make them pay for the chance.

Raising your strong hands before the flop also serves to knock other people out of the pot. If you can get it down to just you and one or two other people, you'll win way more often than if you let the whole table in. Remember, you want people to pay for the chance to play against your strong hands.

Aggression After the Flop

Post-flop aggression is useful in so many ways. Most importantly, it gets money in the middle when you have strong hands. I know I'm repeating myself but one of the biggest places poker players miss value is in not playing their strong hands fast enough.

In addition to that, aggression charges people to play draws against you. When you bet enough to cut down your opponents' pot odds, you profit every time they call. If they fold, you get the pot. Even if they do hit their draws sometimes, it creates a win-win situation for you over the long term.

When you play aggressive with your made hands after the flop, it puts all the pressure on your opponents. It takes a bigger money commitment to raise your bets than it does to bet if you just check all the time. In the end, it makes your opponents play more straightforward against you. They are less willing to mess around with bluffs because you're always out there playing strong hands and making big bets.

And finally, aggression gets you paid off more often. When other players see you out there betting and raising all the time, they naturally start to wonder if you're just a bluff-monkey. The more you're out there betting and raising, the more your opponents are willing to call out of disbelief. If you play your bluffs the same way, your opponents are going to have even more fun trying to figure out when you're telling the truth and when you're stealing the pot.


Remember, aggression is important but you can't use blind aggression to make any money. Instead of calling with your weak hands, fold them. Instead of calling with your strong hands, raise them. Aggression is a simple concept to learn but difficult to implement. When you get the hang of it though, you'll see major increases in your poker profits.

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