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Aggressive Play

At this point you may be asking, if selective play is the intelligent tactic to employ and a trait to practice, what about aggressive play? Over the years you will have many types of opponents but when you consider the aggressive player, he generally bets more often so he can improve his chances of winning unless gets driven from the game. For the most part you will find yourself in games where you believe that you have the best hand. Even if you are 100 percent certain that the hand you have will stomp any opponent’s, you must always consider the odds that it could be beaten by the cards to come.

For example; by looking at your hand you figure you have the best hand now; you could actually lose if the wrong card falls on the river and completes a flush for one of your opponents. If your opponents keep checking and calling, one of them might well be on a hunt for a really strong hand. The worst thing you can usually do is give your opponent a chance to draw a free card, if at all possible, make them pay for each and every card. After all, with a free card a miracle may be on the horizon therefore giving him the best hand.

Here’s another example; You hold the Ace of Clubs & the King of Spades, and you knew with absolute certainty that your opponent held Ace of diamonds & Ten of hearts and the board was Ace spades, Jack of diamonds, King of diamonds and the Eight of Clubs. Your opponent plans to draw for the four cards that can beat you. If a queen comes on the river he will make a straight therefore beating your two pair. But if you give him a free card he risks nothing, yet will win as soon as one of those queens falls. With 44 cards still unknown, your opponent is bucking 10-to-1 odds, this is a real long shot, but if you don’t make him pay he stands to lose nothing and gain all.

To top this scenario off, if this was a no-limit game it could actually wind up to be quite the most expensive lesson in your career. In fact, one of the key strategic principles of no-limit play is by making a big enough bet, you can effectively prevent your opponent from contesting the pot. But in a fixed-limit poker game all you can do is bet or check-raise, in order to manipulate the odds your opponent will have to overcome in order to beat you. Since giving a free card is a terrible play, and manipulating the pot odds so that it clearly doesn’t pay for your opponent to try to draw out on you is a good play, being as aggressive as you can with the best hand in a fixed-limit game is the proper strategy most of the time.