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When Facing Poker Aggression

In no-limit Texs Hold’em then it is so difficult to get a hand that is strong. This is especially the case in six handed games where the short-handed nature of the game dictates that you simply have to play more hands and get involved more often. So your average hand will be no pair, one pair and sometimes two pair type hands. The emphasis though will be on hands where you have not paired or you only have one pair. So this means that if you have a philosophy where you base hand strength with how much money you are going to put into the pot then you are going to have a big problem facing short-handed opponents who are very aggressive.

If you have been used to playing full ring games for example then you are going to be used to low blind pressure and only getting your money in when you have the best of it. Unfortunately at higher levels and against aggressive opponents then it simply will not be possible to do this. If you only get all in for 100bb with the nuts or very close to it then you will get run over in six handed play.

Likewise, if you value say two pair or trips as only worth say 50-60bb then you are going to have a problem if your opponent keeps on firing barrels. Let us say that you have A-9 on an A-10-J board and your opponent raises your flop bet or bets the flop, turn and river while all you have is one pair with a weak kicker. You have a problem here but you really only have a problem in this individual hand. This is because you should be adjusting for the next hand but also taking notice of how this opponent plays hands against other players.

When you play more tables then you have something of a problem because getting to really know your opponents is very difficult. It is also more difficult to balance your own ranges as well when you are playing so many tables at once and you are rather hoping that you are compensating for not being able to decipher your opponent’s strategy by extracting smaller value from more tables. But you absolutely need to accept greater variance when you play against more aggressive opponents and also that you need to start calling them down far wider.

It is when you go up against players who think on multiple levels do you then need to think about how they are balancing their ranges and what hands you can call with. For example, a very aggressive but unsophisticated player may blindly triple barrel and this makes calling easier when you have weak pairs because these hands beat bluffs. But the situation gets more complex when your opponent knows to balance their range and also triple barrels with one pair hands as well instead of going into pot control and this is where you can end up paying three streets of value if you are not careful.

Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker

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