We always recommend that the optimal method of playing poker, for profit, is to be primarily Tight Aggressive. In this article, however, we are going to take a look at the best poker strategies for dealing with the situations when other players are betting aggressively. This article is not so much about aggressive players as it is about aggressive betting. The distinction is that we want to look at situations, where there is aggressive betting from other players, while you are in the pot. Of course the “Read” that you have on any of the opponents would play a big part in any poker decisions that you would make. There are also many other “Factors” that will be used, by a skilled poker player, to make sound poker decisions. All of these factors should be combined in to a “Situation” and as a skilled poker player you must be able to analyze the “Situation” and make a rational and enlightened “Poker Decision”. We are going to go through some ideas about these 3 steps, which are used to come to a “Poker Decision”, in a slightly different order because that is the way that these steps occur during the game.
Analyze the Present Poker Situation
Poker is about making decisions. When you play poker you are required to make at least one decision per hand and that is when you decide to Bet, Raise, or Fold before the Flop. If you decide to Fold then you will not have any more decisions to make during that particular hand however you will have to make at least one more decision on every Street as long as you remain in the Pot.
Review All of the Factors
The more involved that you become in the Pot, the more difficult your decisions will be to make and the more Factors that will be involved. A few of the many Factors to consider would be:
The Cards that you are dealt
Your Position in the Hand
Everybody’s Chip Stack
Previous Betting Action
Putting it All Together
With the amount of Factors that you have to consider before making your Decisions it may, at first, appear to be overwhelming. As you practice making these Decisions you will come to find that it will become almost second nature for you to think through this whole process. When there is no betting action that you have to respond to the decisions are easier because you also have the option of checking. When you are facing a Bet, a Raise, or even a three Bet you will be under a lot more pressure. When you are the aggressive bettor then you are putting pressure on the other players but when the other players are betting and raising then the pressure suddenly is put on you. As you get more experienced at making these decisions you will find that you have started to consider possible decisions over several streets in advance, just as a chess player usually thinks many moves in advance. For example you may just Smooth Call on the River, with a big hand, planning to put in a raise on the Turn.
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