By Sebastian Pilaf, Sep 9 2017 02:34PM
Recently we received an email with an interesting issue, see below a piece of that email:
"I have problems with aggressive bets in cash games, and would like advice on how I should handle this. It seems that in the cash games I play every 2 or 3 hands someone is thinking he should raise for the flop a minimum of 5 times the big blind. Usually there are 3 or 4 of this type of players at the table. OK, sometimes they have a top hand, but usually it is just sad. You wont find out what cards they’re holding unless you call. Even a raise of 5 times the big blind is enough for me to fold everything except premium pairs. I've lost many pots because of this aggressive behaviour, at my table.”
This is obviously an interesting situation in times when aggressive play is popular and can definitely be frustrating for a tight player. Even if you want these players at your table, it doesn’t feel good when they push you of a hand several times. Therefore, we would recommend two defensive tactics against aggressive players, starting with: keep a good starting hand selection.
If you see these maniacs take down the pot with weak hands, you might be inclined to get to their level. Although small pocket pairs and suited connectors are good to play against this type of players you'll probably never get the right pot odds to continue playing and you will have to fold before or on the flop because they still keep on going. A better option is:
1) Fight back before the flop. Over-aggressive players prefer to control the pot and do not like to be re-raised or lose control. You know it is impossible to have aces or kings in each hand, although the player wants you to believe it. So re-raise once with a more than average hand and chances are that he does not have much either.
This type of player does not want to fight but wants to maintain control and calmly collect small pots within his reach. Aggressive players often have a good sense of weakness and profit of this knowledge. Don’t wait for the flop, but settle it before that.
2) Trick aggressive players with strong hands. Slow playing against loose players can be very lucrative. For example, the maniac raises from early position, you have Aces in which case you would just have to call. Even if you think you have the best hand after the flop, you can still call and have him build up a nice pot for you.
Sure, there is a risk that he hit something on a draw. Keep your eyes on the board and if you think it is too dangerous then you just raise nicely. In the other case simply use his aggressiveness. An advanced player would be smart and not bother you anymore.