Want to Win Huge Pots? Increase Your Aggression
Scooping a massive pot is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Although picking up small pots is just as important to a winning strategy, you definitely don’t want to leave chips on the table when you’re holding a monster hand and facing down an opponent who is willing to pay you off.
Let’s start with some poker theory, and then go on to show how these principles play out at the table!
Photo: Athlon Sports
How to Increase Your Aggression
Aggressive poker play is all about betting bigger and betting more often. Although we don’t recommend turning into a loose-aggressive maniac, it’s smart to play a solid pre-flop range of strong hands like pairs, broadway cards, and suited connectors, but do so in a way that applies maximum pressure.
Don’t be afraid to open-raise your good hands, even from an early position. Make sure you have 3-bets in your range and 3-bet with a mixture of premium hands and moderately good hands so that you’re not easy to read. For instance, when it comes to aces, you might 3-bet AA-AJ as well as A2-A5. You want to build that pot early.
It’s almost important to mix enough bluffs into your game, and when you do so don’t be shy about it. This is especially important later in tournaments, near the bubble, or when playing against tight opponents who will fold more often than they should.
Aggression in Action
Poker Vlogger PokerfaceAsh put the principles of aggressive play into action recently, and she was rewarded with a MASSIVE pot!
The biggest pot of the session—the biggest of her life in fact—came when she picked up pocket kings in the high-jack and decided to make a big raise. She picked up 3 callers, and as a result, she started to build up the pot against opponents that she recognized as loose.
The flop came 468 rainbow; not the best, but not the worst either. A maniac who goes by “Ebay Dave” made a big bet of $600 and picked up two callers: Ash, and another player who was holding a gutshot with A7.
When the turn was the 8c, it brought in the backdoor club flush draw. That’s when Ebay Dave decided to check, the guy with A7 checked behind, and Ash decided to ratchet up the aggression. Her read was that she probably had the best hand at this point, so she went in for the big bet of $1400.
Ebay Dave responded by snap-shoving all-in, representing a straight or a full-house. However, because he checked first and is such a loose-aggressive player, Ash was able to tease out that there’s no way he had the nuts, and he was probably on a bluff or a draw. Based on how big the pot was, how big her stack was, and how much she had already committed to the pot, she made the call with 83% equity.
When the 3c came on the river, Ash scooped a $10,000 pot with her pocket kings. That’s the power of playing aggressive poker.