One of the most important characteristics a poker player can have is being able to play poker in an aggressive way, especially when playing poker Texas Hold'em. An aggressive player is that who bets and raises frequently as oppossed to a passive player who just checks and calls during poker hands.
Poker aggression is a better road to success in poker than approaching the game in a passive way, this is the reason why so many winning poker players play aggressively.
Play aggressively does not mean just making bets and raising whenever you can, it's also about having an strategy to exercise your aggressive style.
A good aggressive play consists on betting and raising when you have better cards than your opponents, or you are in a better position or you have better gaming skills, that is betting and raising when you have an advantage over your opponents. You need to keep your head cool and choose your spots with wisdom to bet and raise if you want aggression to be beneficial.
An example of poker aggression
Suppose you have A K and the flop comes K T 7.
At this point you hold top pair top kicker, which means you have a good hand. However, it can be beat by the turn, especially if you consider that there are two cards of the same suit in the board. In case your opponent decides to bet into you, you should be aggressive and raise, remember that you have to protect your hand and you want to prevent your opponent from seeing another card that could make their hand better than yours.
Since the board is coordinated the other player could be betting holding a worse hand than yours, like a lower pair or a draw. Your goal is to give your opponent the wrong pot odds by being aggressive and betting enough, so that you get to win the pot on the flop. This move is better than play passively and call because if you do so you expose yourself to being out-drawn on the turn.
Being aggressive can save you from falling in a tricky situation when you are in the middle of a poker hold'em hand. However, this is not the only advantage of being an aggressive player.
When you play in an aggressive way you gain more fold equity and it also helps you to give the other players the wrong odds to call with draws and as a result you'll win more money.
How to use aggression to buy position
When we talk about "buying position" we refer to the concept of forcing your opponents out of the flop during the pre-flop that would take action after you later in the poker hand.
Suppose you are two seats away from the button during a cash game and your hand is Q J . All opponents have folded except for one player who limped in. If you decide to raise to 4 big blinds and the player seating next to the button plus the button folds, this means that you have "bought position" for the rest of the poker hand.
As a result, you'll be the last player to take action for the rest of the hand, which will give you an advantage over the opponents who call after the button. This is another example of how playing aggressively is better than being passive. If you had just limped in the seat next to the button or the button would probably had limped in too and as a result you wouldn't have the last position for the rest of the hand.
The more opponents acting after you that you manage to force out of the hand, the better position you'll have.
Winning free cards with aggression
If you choose to play in an aggressive way, you should be able to create an aggressive and loose table image. Your opponents will take note of this image and when they decide their next play. When you are aggressive, your opponents will usually check to you instead of betting to see how you respond to the hand before they react with their play.
This happens because the other players will tend not to bet mediocre hands because they will be scared of being raised off those hands. Also, sometimes they will try to bluff by checking big hands to you.
You can take advantage of this in case you flop a flush or a straight draw. If your opponents try to bluff by checking to you because you are playing aggressively, this means you've won a free card you can use to try and complete your draw. If you had played in a passive way, your opponents would have bet into you.
How to use aggression to get paid off
If you play poker in an aggressive way all the time, your opponents will give you less and less credit for your hands.
The other players will realize that you can't have the better hand every time you make a bet and raise, and as a result they will try to catch you in a bluff by calling you down. If you have a good hand, you can take advantage of this since the other players may call you down anyway because they will not give you credit for having a good hand.
As a result, every time an opponent calls you will make money out of it because they will not believe you, as opposed to having them fold because they think you have a good hand. However, you should be aware that sometimes your opponent will be trying to trap you and to do so they will call with their own great hands instead of raising and betting.
Poker aggression evaluation
When it comes to poker Texas Hold'em, being aggressive is the best play style to win. Being aggressive is always better than being passive, no matter if you are a tight or lose player.
You should learn to play poker in a strong and aggressive way because that is the way to win a decent amount of money in poker.
Take a look at winning players on TV and in online poker rooms and you'll see that they play in a tight-aggressive or loose-aggressive way. You won't see a professional player playing passively often because playing aggressively is the key to be a winner in poker.