Regular readers of the Betfair Poker Blog will know that we are advocates of aggressive poker. IN fact we believe aggression is key to success at poker.
Weak aggressive players can be frustrating to play against and you could have wild swings in your stack when you take them on.
We won't go over too much old ground now - you can check out this article for the full reasons why we love aggression - but being aggressive allows you to push around your opponents, control the table and potentially win more money. This is all well and good when your opponents play a passive game, but what about when you come up against fellow aggressors? What should you do? How do you deal with aggressive opponents at the poker table?
The first thing you need to do is figure out if the aggressive players is a good player or a weak one; most players at the lower end of the buy-in spectrum will be weak-aggressive. Good, solid aggressive players will make your life miserable, where as weak aggressive players can be frustrating to play against but are definitely profitable opponents to have at your table.
Good aggressive players have reasoning behind their bets, raises and check-raises. They will attempt to put you under tremendous pressure in order to force mistakes from you. When they show aggression they could be doing it with a made hand, with a draw or a complete bluff. They're a royal pain in the backside!
Weak aggressive players on the other hand, generally bet, raise and check-raise just because they can. Many of them will only have one game plan - be aggressive - and when they are met with any resistance or aggression from their opponents they are at a total loss as what to do.
The best tactic for taking on good aggressive players is simply to avoid them if possible! This seems like a cop-out but it definitely works. Obviously, we cannot go around avoiding anyone who gives us trouble so we do have to take them on sometimes otherwise they will over us entirely. If you are being constantly three-bet preflop you will can start four-betting lighter if you're in position. You also need to take plenty of notes so that you can possibly pick up on some tells and potentially find some weaknesses in their game.
Weak aggressive players can be frustrating to play against and you could have wild swings in your stack when you take them on. You can liberally four-bet these players because, as previously mentioned, they often lack a game plan for when you do fight back. Another great tactic, one for post-flop, is to attempt to trap them with big hands. Instead of playing a flopped set aggressive, play it passively and let your crazy opponent do the betting for you.
You can also call down weaker aggressive players much lighter than you ordinarily would. As this player type is willing to bet all three streets with nothing but king-high, second pair suddenly becomes a much stronger hand than against a typical opponent. Again, take notes, exploit weaknesses and try to keep a cool head when they constantly suck out on you with a wide range of weird and wonderful hands!