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Playing Poker Aggressively
With online poker aggressive play works best when done in spurts. Staying with any one single style of play will eventually catch up to you. Switching gears from passive to aggressive play is an excellent way to keep your opponents on their toes. Knowing when to switch gears is the trick.
In the beginning of a game, especially in lower buy in tournaments you want to sit back and let the aggressive players knock each other out. Even when you have a great hand like pocket aces, you will likely be called on a raise of 4 times the big blind from many players. This is bad because aces often get cracked when 3 or more opponents stay in the hand. It happens often enough when going up against 1 or 2 opponents.
In the beginning of the game don't make huge raises with pocket aces or other large pocket pairs out of position. Often it's best to just get in cheap and see the flop. If everybody has folded behind you and you are in position, fire out a large raise at least 3 big blinds (pre-flop).
Position also plays a major factor when it's time to become aggressive. Just remember to take a good look at who are your remaining opponents chip stacks. If the big blind has 8500 chips and you have 1500 on the button and even if everybody has folded behind you, the big blind could call with almost any hand. He knows he has nearly a 50/50 chance to put you out. A 1500 chip loss isn't going to be devastating to him.
If the big blind has a small stack and you have a large chip stack on the button and everybody has folded except one, maybe 2 players behind you and have limped in you could make a raise of 4 times the big blind. You will get away with this steal in most cases. If everybody behind you has folded set him all in if you have anything decent. If he's tight you can usually pull this off with a terrible hand. But don't play terrible cards in low buy in games especially in the beginning of the game.
Chip stack also affects your mode of play. If you are short stacked to the point you only have 10 big blinds or less your best bet is pushing all in pre flop. This is very aggressive and you want to use position and decent cards. Once again you have to have good timing. Don't try to push against a huge stack when short stacked because they could call you with any junk and possibly luck out on you.
Wait for decent position when you have less than 10 big blinds. Try to find a situation where you are pushing against an opponent with a stack close to yours. Going all in against a similar sized stack will threaten your opponents tournament life. If he's intelligent he will likely fold anything but a huge pair or ace king or ace queen.
Sizing up your opponents throughout the game will also give you an understanding on which players are apt to fold or call against an all in push. If the players to your left are loose even if they have a short stack, they might call an all in bet thinking they are getting even money and it's lottery time.
When a table has 5 opponents or less the game becomes more intense and you have to play aggressive. This part of the game is the grinder, because the blinds are coming back to you very quickly. Blinding out becomes very possible if you wait for a great hand. Steal blinds when in position with decent cards. If you have been playing tight you can get away with a bluff here and there. Less players means less chances your opponents have a good hand. You will want to get in with less valuable hands and make follow up bets, raises and re-raises when you have the chance.
If you are in a bubble situation then you have to cool your engines and play conservative. At this point making it to the money is your main concern. Don't take unnecessary chances. Even playing pocket aces can cost you the game. If you get aces on the big blind and 3 or more players are raising, calling raises or re-raising fold those aces, seriously.
On the other hand if you are in early position with aces don't slow play them. Fire out a raise of 3-4 big blinds if you can afford it. If you are short stacked try to limp in and see the flop. If you get raised and you know there will be less than 3 opponents in the hand only call if you can afford to. If the players are tight be very careful.
Once the bubble pops it's back to full on aggressive poker. The end of the game is the most exciting. If you have a huge stack don't get involved with junk cards. You don't want to double up the short stacks. Pushing against short stacks often gets a call because they see an opportunity to double their stack, even with junk.
Playing aggressively against opponents with similar sized chip stacks works best. Consistently bullying small stacks will eventually make you lose your solid looking reputation and you will start getting all kinds of calls. If you appear to be a tight player you will get much more respect and will be able to get away with more steals when you need to.
This Daniel Cates fan website is not sponsored or authorized by Daniel Cates and its content is the sole responsibility of the webmaster. Online poker may develop gambling addiction issues or self-destructive bahevior. It is believed that less than 5% of online poker players are profitable, and less than 1% consistently profitable over the long-run, so consider the content of this website as entertainment and not advice or recommendation on how to play online poker. Jungleman12 plays mostly at Full Tilt Poker where the highest stakes online games take place, if you register with a Full Tilt Bonus Code, they will give you a 100% bonus up to $600 as a welcome thank you. Use this as an opportunity to practice your poker strategy and build up your bankroll.