Playing poker aggressively can mean raising, continuing to bet, and showing strength, rather than playing passively. Beginners sometimes find it difficult to commit to their hand against an aggressive player. It can be a very useful tool at the poker table.

Aggressive players might feel like the bullies at the table, pushing everyone around. Their betting strategy makes opponents misplay or over-fold, but there are ways to counter it.

This article will cover different styles of aggressive play styles and how to play aggressive poker (plus how to play against it).

Viktor Blom (Isildur1) had a meteoric rise with his aggressive play style

To speak about aggressive play, we’ve got to break it down into two main categories.

Tight-Aggressive (TAG): This style implies playing fewer hands (around 15-20%), but a stronger range of hands, like strong suited cards (Ax, KQ, QJ, 9-10, and so on) and pocket pairs. This means whenever they enter a hand, they give themselves the most equity possible. Always raising to enter a pot, rather than limping (calling preflop), is one way to play tight-aggressive.

Players who use this strategy will play fewer hands and fold more often from an early position. When a tight-aggressive player puts money in the pot, they’ll usually follow through and show commitment.

Loose-Aggressive (LAG): Players who are loose-aggressive will play more hands (around 30%+), but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are reckless. Recreational players might play loose-aggressive unprofitably, while an experienced player can use this style of play to exploit weaknesses.

Good LAG players will exploit postflop weaknesses, making it profitable to enter more pots. It’s very hard for opponents to know what a loose-aggressive player is holding since they play so many.

Lex Veldhuis was uncharacteristically aggressive for the times, 3-betting over 5x

Well-known player Lex Veldhuis used to be a loose-aggressive player in the past, but he’s become tighter over the years. He’s one of the professional players on the PokerStars team and streams his play on their site on Twitch. Lex is mainly a tournament player, entering the higher buy-in events on the site. They have a great lineup of smaller buy-in tournaments too, like the Micro Pacific Rim Special for $5.50 and up to $2,000 GTD. The Mini Marathon has the same entry fee, but a $4,000 to $8,000 guaranteed prize. It’s all in our PokerStars review.

4.6
PokerStars starting out holding online poker games back in 2001 and now the company is worth over 6 billion dollars. They sponsor a slew of tournaments like the European Poker Tour, UK and Ireland Poker Tour, plus a handful of others. Over the years, PokerStars has remained on top of the online poker industry. They’ve expanded to offer fantastic online casino games and sports betting.

How to Play Aggressive Poker:

  • Enter the pot less often and play stronger hands, but mix in weaker hands too, or your opponents will easily avoid your strength.
  • Take advantage of your position at the table. Avoid entering the pot from an early position with medium-strength hands (like Jack-ten suited or Queen-ten suited, for example) and maximize your aggression when you are in a late position.
  • Re-raise (3-bet) your strong hands when you are in position, but balance with mid-strength hands.
  • “Limp” less. Limping is calling the big blind amount preflop without making a raise. It’s generally an indication of weak cards, so aggressive players rarely limp.
Какой вид покера предпочитаешь?

If you’ve spent any time playing poker, you’ve probably encountered aggressive poker players. Usually, our first instinct is to play more conservatively (using more premium hands), which is correct. Here are a couple of other things you can do when you encounter an “agro” player at your table.

  1. Avoid playing against aggressive players out of position. You won’t be in control of the action and your aggressive opponent will likely exploit that.
  2. Consider slowplaying more often and concealing your hand strength. If your opponent wants to bet while you have a good hand, don’t try to stop them with a raise. Allow them to keep betting and building a pot while you are ahead.

Getting Value From Aggressive Players: Of course, you can allow your aggressive opponents to continue betting when you have a strong hand. Agro opponents usually make continuation bets on the flop, so you must decide to keep calling or put in a raise at some point. You might be able to slowplay your hand until the river and get maximum value from your opponent.

Experienced aggressive players will be much harder to get value from and they might not continue to bet if they sense your strength. You can use this to your advantage by building a bigger pot preflop or check-raising their continuation bets.

Bluffing Aggressive Players: When you are trying to extract value from an aggressive opponent, it's important to understand how they play. Are they the type of player who is willing to give up if you check-raise? Are they considering your range or simply betting aggressively in a primal show of strength?

It’s difficult to bluff opponents who aren’t aware of their hand strength, relative to yours. This can lead to some LAG players calling your bluffs with weaker hands, making them tougher to bluff. Running a successful bluff is like telling a story, but it works less when your opponents aren’t listening to the details.

Americas Cardroom has Bomb Pots, where you’re likely to see some aggression

Recreational poker players usually play a loose-passive or tight-passive style, meaning that they are conservative and bluff less often. It’s easy to notice these players after spending some time at a table. Aggressive players can use this to their advantage on sites like America’s Cardroom, which are mostly made up of casual players at lower stakes.

ACR hosts very busy no-limit Texas hold ‘em tables. Around half of the players on the site are playing hold ‘em cash games, but almost a quarter of users play the fast folding format called Blitz. ACR caters to pot-limit Omaha lovers too, plus hi/lo, and 7-card stud. Find out how to get your deposit 100% matched (up to $2000) by checking out our America’s Cardroom review.

Register using this link to get access to GipsyTeam bonuses:
  • Increased first deposit bonus
  • Increased rakeback and reloads
  • Help with deposits and cashouts
  • Access to private freerolls
  • Round-the-clock support

Tom Dwan is a poker player who’s well known for being hyper-aggressive at the table. When he first arrived at televised poker games like High Stakes Poker, other players had a tough time countering his style.

Tom Dwan became famous for his wild and unpredictable play

(Check out this 7-2 hand with Tom Dwan in our full breakdown)

Phil Ivey usually applies more aggression preflop and navigates postflop rounds well. He’s unafraid to put chips into the pot when he senses weakness (and he’s very good at that).

Isildur1 (Viktor Blom) is a Swedish player who started creating a buzz on Full Tilt by winning millions of dollars in a short amount of time. Daniel Negreanu said, “He’s in your face, relentless,” referring to Isildur1’s style. He constantly overbet without spending much time thinking, which was very confusing for his opponents.

Garrett Adelstein was a big fan of aggression and overbetting during his time on Live at The Bike and Hustlers Casino. He was well known for putting opponents to the test, before the famous Jack-four incident.

Register using this link to get access to GipsyTeam bonuses:
  • Increased first deposit bonus
  • Increased rakeback and reloads
  • Help with deposits and cashouts
  • Access to private freerolls
  • Round-the-clock support
Win real money in tournaments without buy-ins!
114 more freerolls
Today 05:00 EDT (09:00 GMT)
$50
Free To Play - Round The Clock - Poker Tournament - $50 USD GTD
Today 05:35 EDT (09:35 GMT)
$264
VFTS #1 AIOF Freeroll
Today 06:00 EDT (10:00 GMT)
$50
Free To Play - Round The Clock - Poker Tournament - $50 USD GTD
Today 06:05 EDT (10:05 GMT)
$50
$50 GTD - Freeroll 6-Max PLO
Today 07:00 EDT (11:00 GMT)
$100
Free To Play - Round The Clock - Poker Tournament - $100 USD GTD
Today 07:10 EDT (11:10 GMT)
₮5
Sunday Special Freebuy Satellite
Today 07:15 EDT (11:15 GMT)
₮5
Sunday Special Freebuy Satellite
Today 07:30 EDT (11:30 GMT)
₮5
Sunday Special Freebuy Satellite
Today 07:50 EDT (11:50 GMT)
₮5
Sunday Special Freebuy Satellite
Today 08:00 EDT (12:00 GMT)
$100
Free To Play - Round The Clock - Poker Tournament - $100 USD GTD
Today 08:30 EDT (12:30 GMT)
₮20
Freebuy NLHE Satellite
Today 08:45 EDT (12:45 GMT)
₮10
Freebuy NLHE Satellite
Today 09:00 EDT (13:00 GMT)
$100
Free To Play - Round The Clock - Poker Tournament - $100 USD GTD
Today 09:05 EDT (13:05 GMT)
$50
$50 GTD - Freeroll 6-Max PLO
Today 09:15 EDT (13:15 GMT)
₮20
Freebuy NLHE Satellite
Today 09:40 EDT (13:40 GMT)
$66
Vegas ME Freeroll
Today 10:00 EDT (14:00 GMT)
$100
Free To Play - Round The Clock - Poker Tournament - $100 USD GTD
Today 10:00 EDT (14:00 GMT)
₮0.05
swordfish007 Challenge Freeroll
Today 10:10 EDT (14:10 GMT)
$13.2
$1.10 AIOF Freeroll
Today 10:15 EDT (14:15 GMT)
₮20
Freebuy NLHE Satellite