Poker Theory Fundamentals II: The Supreme Overlord

Poker Theory Fundamentals II : Aggression - The Supreme Overlord - Spin & Go Strategy

If you have read our previous Poker Theory blog post you may understandably believe position to be the most important aspect of succeeding at poker, but the reality of the matter is that if position is King then aggression is the Supreme Overlord. Because while understanding the power of position is an essential aspect of winning money at poker, it is unlikely to make a significant positive impact on your results if you are not applying that knowledge effectively.

And while I can not overstate the power of positional awareness, while working with recreational poker players through 1-on-1 poker lessons, a lack of aggression consistently shows up as being the single greatest impediment to their success at poker. Most amateur players simply do not play a wide enough range, meaning they are just not playing enough hands, neither in nor out of position, both preflop as well post.

Of course the range you should be playing is relative to the game type you’re in and your position at the table (for example, you should be playing a much wider range when playing heads up or a three-handed Spin & Go tournament than you should UTG in a10-handed tournament).

However, aggression doesn’t end with hand selection but rather continues throughout the course of the hand.

For example, raising at or near 100% of hands on the button in a HU game can definitely be defined as aggressive, but is also a pretty awful strategy if you’re just going to cbet on the flop and give up every time your opponent calls and your hand doesn’t improve.

If you do so, a perceptive opponent can simply call all your c-bets regardless of their hand strength (aka float) and bet 100% of the time when you check the turn (aka probe).

Similarly, calling 70% of hands from the BB in a HU match might be optimal in theory, but will end up being an incredibly expensive strategy if you only continue when you flop a strong pair or big draw since your opponent can c-bet blindly (meaning, 100% of the time, regardless of their cards) and safely give up all bluffs when called, knowing that your range in that spot is composed almost entirely of value hands.

This brings up another important point, which is that the vast majority of recreational players play a style predicated on minimizing their losses rather than maximizing their profits, which is generally a sure-fire way to lose money, even if it takes a while longer.

As well-known poker player Amir Vahedi once famously said “If you truly want to live, you can’t be afraid to die.” Of course, the key is to find that balance between being too tight and passive (aka nitty) and being overly aggressive in all the wrong situations (aka spewy). And while finding that balance can take years to master, it is one of the primary components found in each of our poker strategy guides.

Having said that, there is one extremely simple method we will discuss now that will provide you with an instant edge against your recreational opponents and many low-stake players alike and will allow you to better gauge when you should step on the gas and when you should slam on the breaks, metaphorically speaking.

Receive the complete Poker Fundamentals E-book
Poker Fundamentals E-book Download

Read “Poker Theory Fundamentals III: The Art of Story-Telling” ↦

1 Comment

  • Anonymous

    Reply Reply July 15, 2015

    May I simply just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who truly understands what they’re discussing online. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field