Every poker player, without question, has their own style of playing. While it can be hard to place every player in a category, it’s easier when you’re more familiar with the options available. The aggressive playing style is favoured among well-skilled players. Still, not all aggressive players are the same. Read on to find out what makes an aggressive player and how this style can benefit your game.
What is an Aggressive Playing Style?
As suggested by its name, an aggressive player is one who plays the game to put pressure on their opponents. In poker, an aggressive playing style is easy to spot as this player will rarely limp into the pot. Instead, they’re known for raising, re-raising and continuation bets when they feel it’s necessary.
Players with an aggressive playing style sometimes have an interesting reputation for pursuing the pot even when they don’t have a good hand. Yet, this isn’t strictly true. Especially in the case of a tight-aggressive player. The tight-aggressive player is still in tune with the mood of the game but uses a more vigorous playing style than others to put pressure on rivals. That said, a player like this may sometimes (but not always) still be blinded to signs that they should fold. Unlike other types of aggressive players (which we’ll discuss below), a tight-aggressive player tends to avoid bluffing too much. This is an advantage to their game because, when they do bluff, they usually have a solid strategy in place. In short, their game is aggressive but well thought out.
Loose-aggressive players are similar to tight-aggressive ones in that they still have a good grip on game strategy. However, unlike these players, they are more likely to take some risks. It’s this intelligent blend of fearlessness and strategy that makes this particular playing style so successful. They don’t bet and re-raise on every hand. Yet, they will build the pot and significantly pressure fellow opponents into making moves if they feel they’re in with a reasonable shot of winning. That makes them somewhat difficult to predict - much to their advantage!
Tight-aggressive and loose-aggressive are the two core categories within this playing style. That said, there are instances where players show signs of being an opportunistic-aggressive player. As the name suggests, these players only display aggressive playing tendencies in perfect-storm situations. An opportunistic-aggressive player tends to be less strategic in their game but not entirely without thought. You’ll often find them bluffing while holding a low or no equity hand if the right cards are on the table, this isn’t always the case. Of course, like with other aggressive playing styles, these players are characterised by their ability to put a strain on other players. While this can be a profitable playing style given that these players know how to seize an opportunity, they can be prone to missing intelligent folds.
The Benefits of Playing Aggressive
The most obvious benefit of playing with an aggressive style is that it can fluster other players, forcing them to make mistakes. Naturally, this is only true when carried out correctly, meaning that aggressive players always have some logic to their decision to bet and re-raise. No matter the degree of aggression, this type of player always acts with the belief that they have an advantage over their rivals. This can include holding better cards, a better position, or even better skills in general.
Naturally, if you’re always playing a hand overly aggressive, rivals will start to call you. Yet, aggressive players shouldn’t be afraid to use this to their advantage. When a rival no longer buys into the idea that a particular player can have a strong hand, it makes for an opportunity for an excellent bluff.