All long-term winning play poker online players share one thing in common: they play an aggressive poker game. Aggression in poker doesn’t mean bluffing a lot, it means playing your hands with confidence. An aggressive player doesn’t make a lot of checks and calls, he either raises his hands or he folds them.
Aggressive poker online players come in with raises preflop, not weak calls. After the flop, aggressive players bet and raise their strong hands and fold the hands that don’t pan out. They don’t make weak calls, not knowing where they stand, hoping to get lucky and improve to a better hand.
The key to playing an aggressive online poker real money game is being very selective about which hands you play preflop and which ones of those you continue with after the flop. If you play the best 20% or so of your hands, you’re naturally going to be betting and raising because you’re playing great hands.
If you have to check and call a lot, you’re probably playing poor hands preflop and taking your weak hands too far after the flop. You want to either play a hand hard or not play it all. Don’t get stuck in that halfway land of mediocre hands that leave you wondering if you’ve got the best online poker hand or not.
Yes, there are times to check and call, but aggressive players keep that kind of play at a minimum. Just save yourself the trouble and drop your marginal hands early.
Aggression gets money in the pot with your strong hands
Well, this statement is a little obvious, but it’s a commonly overlooked fact. If you have a strong hand, whether it be a big pair or a full house, you probably want to get more money in the pot because you like money.
It’s easy to get caught up trying to be all tricky and forget that all we want to do is get more money in the pot while we have the strongest hand. If you wait until the river to try and get the money in, you’re going to have a heck of a lot harder time convincing someone they should put all their money in the middle.
Why? Because on the river, all hope is gone. Your opponent has either made his hand or missed it. If he made his hand, you’re just going to lose money. If he missed his hand, he’s not going to call anything. You need to charge them early in the hand when they still have hope.
Aggression makes people more likely to pay off their strong hands
An aggressive game gives you an aggressive image. If the people at your table see you making lots of bets and raises, they are naturally going to wonder if you’re just full of hot air. Some people even resent your aggressive play and will say nasty things to you in the chatbox. That’s great because these people are just dying to catch you in a bluff.
The more aggressive your image is, the more likely people are going to be to call you down with weaker hands than they normally would. All this aggression makes it hard for them to tell if you really do have a strong hand. Your aggressive game doesn’t include making weak calls that indicate weak hands. Because of that, it’s that much harder to read you.
Aggression charges people to draw
By betting and raising with your strong hands, you make it expensive for your opponents to try and get lucky with their draws. If you don’t bet your strong hands, you let opponents draw for free which is a complete disaster. It is your duty to charge your opponents for the opportunity of trying to outdraw you.
Occasionally their draws will hit and you’ll get mad but that’s OK. If your opponents draws never hit, they’d never play poker. It’s good their draws hit sometimes because it’s that hope that keeps them coming back every day. As an aggressive player, you exploit the hopes of other people.
Aggression forces your opponents to play more straightforward against you
When people suspect they’re up against a strong hand, they tend to play a straightforward game. They don’t really have a choice if you think about it. If they think they’re up against a strong hand, they obviously don’t want to bluff and they don’t want to play weak hands. In the end, they fold all of their weak hands and only continue if they have a strong hand. That’s oversimplifying it a bit, but the basic idea is sound – aggression makes it harder to play tricky against you.