Defend Against Aggressive Players

Does anyone have any tips on how to defend against Aggressive players?

Yesterday I played in a live tournament (which Im uncomfortable with, I need more live experience), but I had someone to my right who was raising (blinds were somewhere around 200/400) to 2,500 - 3,000 almost every hand he was in, which was ok because if I didn’t have anything I could fold, but then the player to my left was doing the same thing but more often I knew he had a very wide range once in a while I would call with half decent cards like KQo but he would fire on all streets (bang, bang, bang) and Im like WTF I just can’y call without connecting. Also its was the longest run I had with no card to play with (2 hrs solid).

Should I have re-raised in a few spots such as my KQo? thinking about it now my stack was short compared to the table with the 2 bullies taking everything (I like to be the bully 8 out of 10 times lol) It was a long run of dry cards. Im thinking I should have just pushed all in once in a while while getting raised with half decent cards at least this way I would be able to pick up some cash until the cards turn around.

I did get moved to another table finally (blinds were 1,000/2,000), I probably had less than 10 BB’s (thinking 8) with AKs I pushed all in and the table folded around to me, very next had AQo I pushed all in and had one caller who flips over A10o (with the size of this guys chip stack I probably would have made the same call) flop is nothing and then the 10 on the turn and I said good luck everyone. These were the absolute best cards I had seen all day in this particular tournament.

Anyway I felt like I did a poor job and got knocked out in 89th place of 207. I think I need to be more aggressive, which is difficult when nothing is connecting when I do call.

I wanted to get your thoughts on how you deal with aggressive players? because Im usually the aggressive player and this is the first time I had difficulty (I felt like I was playing against myself, and now know how others feel lol).

Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Well with my poor play of late, take this with a grain of salt… lololol

In a setting like that a MTT, its harder for those aggressive players to sustain long runs of push’n ppl around, unless they are winning alot of hands… compared to say a ring table, where you can just rebuy/top off… Altho the table should recogize that thier range is almost anything with thier 2-4x raises, usually tighter players can pick them off easier by sloplay’n better cards… the other brute force way is for the table to punish them by re-raises… but if someone just doesn’t care about losing, either wait them off the table, or take a few chances…

I tend to go back to basic HU thinking, where if you let yourself get bullied, then you might as well just give up right then/there… also think of defensive raising…if you think he’ll raise 4x, then raise 2x before he gets the chance… maybe the smaller raise will just check around and you get the next card cheaper than if he raised…

The thing about bullies in MTTs, with no rebuys/addons, is once they are exposed as such to the table, and lose a few bigger hands, either they tilt out… or they stop what they are doing…

All that being said, using your chipstack to your advantage, is part of poker… its not like everytime you make the final table, you’re gonna be in #1 posistion… Its always that dance… they go loose, u go tight… they go tight, u go loose… but that doesn’t always work…but yes, there are ways to control other players into doing what you want them to do, but usually you have to show them that they have good reason to worry about you 1st…


You mentioned he was aggro on every hand he was in, but how many hands did he play? Was he loose aggressive or tight aggressive?

In either case, playing back at him with K high is pretty risky. I would rather have A9 there than KQ. I wouldn’t play back at him preflop unless I had a premium hand, but you could call and maybe make a small raise on the flop if you think he’s C betting air.


in general the right play is different depending on what kind of aggressive player. this one seems to be a maniac. this because of raising almost any hand but also because of the insane betsize of about 7BB’s.
the right play is as already mentioned to tighten up and play your strong hands only, but be prepared to shove them when the time is right. as for the KQ hand, i think calling was right because it’s a strong hand, but also because it’s a fairly powerful postflop hand, but it is only a marginal preflop hand, this because you are behind any ace and any pair. but in postflop if you hit either a king or a queen with no ace you hold very likely the best hand (especcialy against a maniac). but if you don’t hit your hand just fold when bet and move on.
as for the AK hand, that’s a 100% sure shove with 10 BB’s from any position, so this is good.

in general with extremely loose aggressive players you should tighten up and play your good hands strong, but according to your story it seems you already did.


You also have to distinguish between “agressive players” and “players on a whole different strategy”. I say this, do to noticing my play as of late, depending how far down I had to drop levels due to insuffient funds… hahahahaha

I then ask’d myself… what does this remind u of…“unranked and others, that caused me this hurt in the 1st place”… and I was like, Sarah U idiot…Why didn’t you recognize this sooner. You’ve seen this on other sites, did you just go blind to what was infront of you ??? Yes, in a way I did see the signs and ignored them… I guess

This is why Warlock is right, Bankroll should be hidden… but since its not… its easily explainable why some things and some strategies work. If you are putting .01% of your bankroll @risk against someone who is putting 10% of thier bankroll @risk… you can play a whole different strategy than your opponent can… and to your opponent it might look “agressive” when infact its very “passive” in design, but over time makes profit … If you don’t correctly identify thier strategy, your counter strategy prolly won’t work


No worries Im sure your the type that, with pure determination get back in and start kicking some ass!

Well said and my plan going forward is to show them that they have good reason to worry about me 1st… :slight_smile: Yesterday I won 2 tournaments both 1st place, (@RPP) by being aggressive and believe I need to transfer that over to live play.

I think I should have definitely done this but I believe I was chip scared, without seeing his cards Im pretty sure he was a loose aggressive player.

@yiazmat It was indeed a difficult day no cards to counteract the maniac next time I think I will try to sneak in a few Cbets as @SunPowerGuru suggested, even if I don’t have anything and can always easily get away, maybe it might have helped to change the table dynamics?

@Sassy_Sarah I love the idea of bankroll management but because I love poker I also take risks and probably spend 16% of my stack (or 20 at the most) to move ahead faster. Though in real life and real cash for MTT’s if I played a $80 tournament and won $4,000 bucks Id probably stay there until I had 20,000 before I even think about playing a $200 game :slight_smile: but in the end when I put my money down to enter it’s gone I lost it and it doesn’t enter my mind at all during play, for me its the new person jitters (its easy behind the computer) and I need to learn how to do it at the live tables (which I guess means playing more).

I seriously appreciate all the spectacular wisdom from you guys/gals! I genuinely appreciate it! Great responses and after losing focus I now see what needs to be done… dan dan daaaan… lol


Glad anything said helped you, and congrats…
" Ya just can’t play scared poker " :face_with_head_bandage:


You don’t have to see his cards to know. If he’s playing 3 or 4 hands per orbit, he’s loose. If he’s only playing 1 hand every 2 orbits, he’s tight.

Knowing he’s loose doesn’t mean you can take him apart though. Loose players will also play AA or KK when they get them, so you can never be sure. Still, if your range is much narrower than his, you should make a profit in the long run as long as you don’t let him run you off the table with his aggression.

As far as raising his C bets… you should do this mostly on hands where you have a good draw. If you raise his flop bet, he might check to you on the turn. You can then check behind, which effectively lets you see the turn and river for a single small raise on the flop. And hey, he might fold to your raise anyway.

If, on the other hand, you just call the flop bet, he will likely fire out a bigger bet on the turn. So, in some situation, min raising the flop can save you money in the long run.


No more scared poker…

SPG you are the man I’ll definitely give this a shot!!! Thank you.

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You can defend against anyone once you figure out their strategy. This real difficulty comes when the person you are playing against doesn’t know what their strategy is either. #luckbox-donksplosion

My word but the hardest thing to deal with on a poker table is the blissfully oblivious player who is sure he is going to hit that runner runner, … and does, … repeatedly.

It is very hard to be sandwiched between 2 LAG’s, especially when card-dead. If you let them control the table, as it sounds like, you are in for a long (or short) game. Did you have any help on the table or were you trying to play them basically by yourself? If no-one was playing back at them other than you, the situation is really shyte. Look for some good drawing hands and take them in. You need to make a stand early or they will pick you apart, even if you end up getting some premium hands later.

SPG posted some good advice a while back - become the player you hate facing. If you are normally the bully, what player types give you the most trouble? Perhaps that would be the style for you to adopt against someone playing like you normally do? Just a thought.


have to say that i know how you think and like the idea, but this would work best (if not only) when in position. when you call (or raise) with a drawing hand to the lag on your right, the other lag on your left can raise often too and you get sandwiched like you said, which gives a very bad spot.
the theory of what you mean is getting great implied odds when you hit, and the possibility to play some hands and not having to wait to get only premiums. but these implied odds work only in position because you are way more sure you won’t get raised, and you have 2 aggressive players before you that want to pay you off when you hit your monster.


On Tuesday afternoon I was playing on a table with some of my friend and went to bet and I could not than my Chat was blocked than I was removed from the table just by him messing with my computer time went by and I could not get back in my spot another player took it It reminded me of a weekend day Who ever is doing this I hope he gets the help he needs bless his heart replay is a really great site great people working there and I do try to avoid the one that gives me a really hard time hugs to all the workers at replay sammymorgan

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Its a bad spot any way you look at it. If you are flying solo trying to take these 2 on, you are going to either try to wait them out or take a few chances. In this spot, if you are the only one playing back at them, you are going to need to pick good spots, say on your BB if LAG to your left isn’t in the pot. LAG #2 would be the SB out of position to at least you there.

I think everyone approaches things slightly differently. I will take different approaches, depending on the makeup of the table and frankly, based on my mood. That is probably an absolutely horrible answer coming from a guy who preaches the technical side of the game but its also honest. Some days I am more inclined to want confrontation and other days I am ok trying to avoid it. I think the most important thing to remember in situations like this is that the worst thing you can do is nothing and be slowly blinded out of contention.

BTW - I like drawing hands like suited paint because they have playability post-flop as opposed to A-high or pairs other than monsters. I’m not nearly as worried about the pre-flop bet as I am what follows. If I have draws to a flush or straight or both, I know how to play back with those hands. For this reason, I want playability over pure pre-flop hand strength most of the time here. Of course, pounding back with monsters is easy but if I have to pick 2nd tier hands to fight back with, these are the ones I’m looking for.


smart 1. this way at least one position makes it possible. even if they both play the implied odds are still in game (unless reraised of course)


Its not about the implied odds - a LAG is going to pay you off most of the time. This is about being able to play back rather than fold pre-flop or call the raise and have to fold on the flop. You are going to have to use your outs and blockers to take the pot through pushing back, whether you hit or not. Play back when you are deep and try to get off the LAG’s menu. Either take a bunch of his chips or at least try to make yourself a hard target so he prefers to attack elsewhere.

You have to do something and doing it while deep gives you room to try a few different things. If you are going to have to face both players in pots, I’d rather be going in with JQs than A10o or some such thing. Of course I may have to fold to many flops but I will also be able to continue with many more of them than if I’m just playing any old A.

Added: Perhaps I should have pointed out that I’m not even as concerned with the results of specific hands as I am with getting to a better spot in the game as a whole. Sure, taking the hands I play back with is the best result but even if I lose some hands but get out of the LAGs crosshairs, its a strategic win. Anything I can do to move the pressure off of me and preserve chips is a win in this situation.


i do understand it’s about showing they can’t get you that easily and defenitely agree that’s a good thing to do. but i mean that when playing suited connectors you mostly rely on your implied odds because you want to hit you flush or straight(draw) and be able to play for stacks. but if you completely miss and still show strength they may fold and respect it, but with the wrong lags (probably most) they will still call or raise you with hands like pairs and get broke very quickly.
so the think is while i do like the idea to show them that they will have to pay to get you to fold, i don’t think it’s a good idea to do this with nothing.

edit: about the betting with nothing. cbetting with air is in fact probably good, but since you will be the caller this won’t work as much as it will when you are the raiser, donkbetting also shows strength, but you will need the right lags to do so.


That is the time to fold…

I think we are basically on the same page here, with some differences in picking spots and such. This is what makes for an interesting game. I also agree that you can’t use 1 strategy for all donks, LAG or otherwise. The more precisely you identify the particular flavor of donk you are dealing with, the better your counter-strategy will be. Have you seen any of these guys hands at showdown? Do they have any identifiable range at all? All A-rag’s or suited 3-gappers too?

I personally hate playing in situations like this one but when I do, I want to be able to get my stack in (if necessary) drawing to the nuts rather than with a pair, almost all of the time.

For your personal amusement - 9/6s got me again last night. Just wtf is up with that hand? I am seriously considering playing it like AA next time I get it and see if it works on my side as well. :slight_smile:

Added: Would really like to hear from you, Joe and others about the concept of c-betting and delayed c-betting. A few years back, Asher Conniff employed the delayed c-bet to great effect while crushing a few WPT main events. I liked the concept and still do but wonder what others think.



@yiazmat @1Warlock

I’d love to hear this as well as a I’ve never heard of it before?

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