Aggressive or Conservative Poker - Should you Play Aggressive Poker
A good poker player will have to play it both aggressive and conservative poker. The trick is to know when to play what and to feel comfortable with it.
When to Play Aggressive
Even the beginner player knows that a strong hand entitles aggressive play but is this truly the case? In a general scheme it would surely seem so but say that you are in a short stacked game and you over estimate your hand against the hands of the opponents. Being too hot headed could end very badly and it pays off to know just when to play it aggressive.
The first thing you need to do is to understand the variant of poker that you are playing. If a poker strategy tells you to play it aggressive with a certain hand it always refers to a specific type of game. There are games like heads up poker games where lower cards have better chances than in other poker variants. In such a game you can easily put more efforts on raising without risking too much. You also need to consider your bankroll and if you are playing in a tournament. To last till the very end you might want to save your aggressive play till the later stages of the game.
When to Play Conservative
If you have a very poor hand it should be obvious that this is the time to play conservative poker. The mistake many make is that conservative poker equals poor hands and folding. Conservative poker can and should be part of wise poker strategy. You can play conservatively and aggressively within the same game depending on a few factors. It is usually good to start out the game in a conservative style and then get more aggressive as it progresses. Remember that your seat will also influence the choices you make. Learn to play with pot odds as this will help you adjust your playing style in the given situation and game.
Reading your Opponents
Aggressive vs. conservative poker play can be used as poker strategy. Just like you need to watch your opponents you can be sure that they will be keeping an eye on you. When you raise with a good hand your opponents will make their assumptions about it. Are you bluffing? How can you tell what the other players are up to according to their moves? These are things you need to consider when deciding how to play.
Reading your opponents play is something that you learn with time and it is important. By seeing how you react to aggressive and conservative poker play you gain insight into how the approaches can be used as strategy. When you play in the same poker room a lot you will also start to recognize other serious players. This can make it a lot of fun since you will be able to better evaluate when aggressive play is behind a poor hand and when conservative play is about to change into the aggressive mode.