Playing Agressive in No Limit Holdem

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When to Play Agressive in No Limit Holdem?

There are many different styles when it comes to Texs Holdem, all the pros have a unique way of playing from the tight conservative image of Harrington to the loose aggressive tactics of Hellmuth.  You can win chips with different styles of play, but in this article I want to teach you when to play aggressive in No Limit Holdem.

A common mistake in poker is using the wrong level of aggressiveness at the wrong time.  Players will raise out of position pre-flop without the goods or be 3barreling against an opponent who clearly has the nuts.  The key to poker is knowing when to switch gears and take advantage of stealing scenarios.

When to Get Aggressive:

Table Position: Being in a good position makes aggressive play more profitable. It means you get to see how everyone bets before you, whether the table shows weakness, and you can take advantage.  Blind-stealing is always done from late position, and raising your marginal hands pre-flop from the button, SB/BB or late position is tactical.  Continuation betting flops is most effective in position because you’ve seen everyone check. Of course sometimes it’s better to be out of position, for instance to check-raise a loose opponent you have to be out of position.

Play Becomes Short-Handed: In tournaments or cash games when players leave the table you naturally have to play more aggressive.  In a 10-man table for example we’re always folding A8 or similar holdings in mid-position, however with 5 players left we’ll be raising pre-flop.  The same is true of high broadway cards (e.g. QJ, KQ) because their value goes way up when the table gets down to short-handed play, especially in heads up pots.  Usually they’ll be dominated at 10-man tables however by AK or AQ.

You Become Short-Stacked: When you dwindle down to less than 30BBs in cash games you become short-stacked.  I always recommend re-buying in cash games however if you can’t do this you need to play much more aggressively.  Start raising your rag-aces, pocket pairs and suited connectors out of position.  The reason we play more aggressively here is because we can’t afford to be patient waiting for the right cards/

Big Stack at the Table: This makes you the bully and you should regularly steal chips and price small stack opponents and the blinds out of pots.  By doing this you encourage others to play tighter and make bigger risks, which always works in your favor.  Remember to price out limpers and marginal hands pre-flop and lead out on most of the pots you play with big bets. 

Against Tight Opponents: In low stakes games such as $0.10/0.20 players will be a lot tighter on average.  Utilise a loose-aggressive strategy and a bullish table image to pick up the blinds.  Bluffing and 3barelling works best against weak opponents because they fold more often; however be careful not to play too hard into calling stations.  These players are very difficult to bluff and you’ll need a good showdown hand to beat them. In the count-down to the bubble in tournaments play becomes very tight and this is exactly where you should be playing aggressively to steal loose chips.

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