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  • September 29, 2020

Online Poker Dictionary: Preflop Aggressor

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Preflop aggressor is the one that raise while the opponent player was tha one how called.
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When to Lead into the Preflop Aggressor
If you lead into the preflop aggressor, one of three things will happen.
1). He will fold, and you will win the pot on the flop uncontested. A fine result; the small pots add up!
2). He will call. This almost always means that your opponent doesn’t have a very strong hand; he is often drawing or holding a weak hand that can’t stand the pressure of another bet. This is a great time to fire a second bet on a blank/scary turn with a marginal hand like middle pair or a gutshot.
3). He will raise. This is a good result if you have a nice draw or a very strong hand, like a set. You can make a large 3bet and get most of your money in on the flop you’re your 3bet range (strong hands/good draws)has the most equity.
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Playing Against a Preflop Aggressor Postflop
Who is the Villain?
This is an important question to ask, as the answer to this question will likely give you other clues as well. For example, if the preflop aggressor is a reg, you can probably count on him to do a few things postflop like c-bet and maybe even double barrel. Knowing this you can then come up with a strategy which would probably be like floating with a wide range or even raising his c-bet on the flop. If you actually know the player and have history with them, then you’ll have meta-game considerations to think about as well.
If you don’t know the villain, then you’ll want to err on the side of caution and not get fancy. I’d lean towards playing a more straightforward poker game until you have developed some reads to go on.
Are You In or Out of Position?
When deciding what to do postflop against a preflop raiser, position is definitely going to be key.
When you’re out of position, you’re playing more of a guessing game. If you check and your opponent c-bets, what does that mean? It’ll be hard to know since he could be simply c-betting with air or for value. This (guessing) isn’t an optimal position to be in. If you insist on playing your hand postflop out of position, I would suggest donking out on the flop. You’ll get a better idea of where you’re at by doing so (most times).
Being in position is (obviously) way better. In position, I’m more inclined to bluff-raise c-bets to try to steal or float. Many players that you’ll face aren’t good enough to play their A game out of position outside of c-betting the flop. So raising or floating will often throw them off allowing you to take control of the hand. But again, this will be player dependent.
What Hand Do You Have & What’s the Flop Like?
While you should try to play your opponent and not your hand, your hand is still relevant to your decision as to what to do verses a preflop aggressor.
For example, if I flatted in position with AK of diamonds and the flop was 4h-6h-Th and the preflop raiser c-betted into me, I’ll fold more often than not. Why not float? Yeah, my opponent likely missed this flop too, but why float when the only thing I beat at the moment is a bluff and two of my outs (ace and king of hearts) aren’t really ‘clean’ outs since they complete the flush. On the other hand, if the flop had one diamond on it, I might be more inclined to float since I have the backdoor flush, straight and two over cards. It seems like a tiny difference, but it’s a big difference if you look at in terms of how much equity you have in the hand now and how it may or may not increase on future streets.
If I actually have a hand, my strategy will depend on board texture, position and my opponents playing style. If I have a hand like top pair on a draw heavy board while out of position, verses tags or weaker players I might go for a check/raise but will donk verses aggressive players (because they won’t believe me and will likely raise). On dry flops, I might just check or check/call to under rep my hand somewhat (to induce bluffs) while at the same time trying to control the size of the pot.
How Deep Are Effective Stack Sizes?
Stack sizes are important to consider too. Stack sizes play a large role in what you do verses postflop verses a preflop aggressor.
For example, say a player was on the short side with 15 big blinds on the flop after he c-bets. Verses a player with this size stack, you won’t want to get involved unless you actually have a hand, not to mention that you’ll want to go ahead and just 3-bet on the flop to get stacks in. The reason why you don’t want to get involved here without a hand is that the preflop aggressor is likely committed. They’ve invested too much money to just fold. And if you happen to flat and float the flop, they’ll probably shove the turn since they’ll have a 2/3 to pot size bet left. It’d be pointless to commit any more of your money only to fold the turn.
On the other hand, if a player is deep you’ll have more implied odds. You can chase more draws and are deep enough to try to out play your opponent without becoming (effectively) committed.
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