Why Are Games So Aggressive? How Do I Counter?

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One thing about the explosion of online poker is that it has made aggressiveness, even aggressiveness to the point of stupidity, a much more common occurrence at the poker table and especially at online poker games. There are several reasons for this tendency, and knowing the reasons why so many players are overly aggressive can help you know when to back off, and when to use this to your advantage. Knowledge of the game being played is always advantageous. Greater understanding will always lead to better decisions and a better position.

Reason #1 – Anonymous:

When you’re playing online, you’re not face to face. If you get busted from several tables in a row for being an idiot, you don’t have to live with the embarrassment. This is why a lot of players also tend to be mouthy or jerks on the chat function (which I almost always disable to keep from tilting). Just having an avatar means you never have to be face to face, so many people feel emboldened by this.

Reason #2 – I’m a Bully:

There are players who want to raise all the time, show you every bluff, and run their mouths about how great they are simply because they are bullies. Some good players do this, but generally you can tell a bully because they are there to put down everyone at the table. These players will play stupidly, but often take pots because of aggressive play. Ignore them and when you have a good hand, take your chances.

Reason #3 – I’m an Idiot:

Some players simply don’t know how to play so they’ll go all in with J-8 unsuited, think their nines are a high pair with Q-K-A suited on the board, or they believe a “real” poker player has to be a master at bluffing. For any of these reasons or more, there are a lot of players who simply don’t know how to play. With all the poker resources in the world this seems amazing that it’s still true, but there are still far more fish than anything else, so that much is still holding true.

Reason #4 – I Watch Too Much TV:

Everyone watches the World Series of Poker. Unfortunately not a lot of players follow that up with smart playing and studying. And Daniel Negranu looks a lot sexier than Dan Harrington. Problem is, even when Negranu is playing ultra aggressive, there are twenty other factors that he sees and is contemplating when he makes his move. The viewers don’t see that part, but monkey see, monkey do.

Reason #5 – We’re at a Weak Table and I’m a Shark:

Although it’s rare to find a weak table nowadays because everyone is timid, once in a while you will find one and a good player will keep raising until his weak opponents fold. If one guy seems to be doing this, watch to see if he ever shows down a hand. If he doesn’t, you might want to consider playing more aggressively to counter him, and to steal all those blinds from weak players.

Reason #6 – I Just Don’t Care:

They may be drunk, they may be bullies, they may be high stakes rollers playing at a $5 table. Some players just don’t care, and that almost always leads to aggressive wild playing.

These are six of the main reasons why many online poker games have become more and more erratic and aggressive. Only time will tell if they ever steady out, but for now, knowing these reasons and being able to identify why players are playing the way they are will give you a definite advantage.

One Response to “Why Are Games So Aggressive? How Do I Counter?”

  1. hachiko

    Good analysis. It’s very important to understand your opponents, and put them in a category. I think this article will help in doing that


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