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To be more aggressive or not to be. That is the question

  • Doornumber7 (Atlanta, GA)

Hey Rizen, I used to have a reputation as a "more than" aggressive tournament player because I would always raise first-in at least 5-6x times the BB which often created tension and a certain level of social backlash from my fellow players Lol. Since I was raising 5-6x pre-flop, that meant my continuation bet of 2/3 pot was putting my opponents to "more than" meaningful decisions. Consequently, players would think twice about entering a hand against me thus reducing variance (or so it seemed). Now that I've been on this site awhile, I've noticed that I've settled down more because I understand the game and it's nuances better. As a result, I'm only raising first-in 3-4BB's if that is getting the job done instead of 5-6BB's regardless.

When I used to play in tournaments and was on my A-game and winning overwhelmingly uncontested pots, I found that playing more than aggressive generated a lot of add-on benefits. For example; Players checked around to me more often and that's especially cool when I'm in the blinds; Players would raise less often first-in when they had premium hands and I was in late position; If they did raise, I knew they had a very good hand. In addition, I found that when I put weaker players to more than meaningful decisions, their body language often gave away their hand strength. Last but not least, when I'm winning a lot of uncontested pots I find that I can get away with altering my first-in bet sizes or raises in order to isolate players I have a skill advantage over. I would often do this when I had good spec hands and chances were good I could induce a fold or a tell. If they didn't fold, at least I knew where I stood.

What I'm trying to say is...now that I know more I've started playing less aggressively and more systematically. I'm still putting players to meaningful decisions but to a lesser degree. As a result, I'm not as feared at the table and I'm not getting as many free cards or physical reads from my opponents which makes a huge difference! What's worse, lately I've been getting run over by aggressive players that play like I used to play and those guys are the ones winning the tournaments.

I'm seriously thinking about going back to playing more aggressively because I reached more final tables that way and had a lot more fun along the way.

Since you're my valued coach, what words of wisdom can you share with me to help me decide? Lol

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