How not to be aggressive

I’ve said elsewhere in these forums recently that aggression is overrated. It is good, necessary, and important, but it is also overrated. It is not the tool for every situation.

Some recent examples:

2-seat SNG, I am holding 75s and flop a flush with it, J24 -spades. I have no way of knowing whether my opponent is holding a better flush, or a draw to a better flush, and a 7-high holding in a flush isn’t great, but I figure odds are pretty good I’m holding the best hand at the moment.

I wouldn’t mind closing the hand early, to avoid a 4th spade showing up and ruining my day, but I’m also willing to be beaten here if I don’t end up with the best hand at showdown. I bet pot at the flop and turn, and my opponent calls me.

Turn’s a brick, Td, and then the board pairs on the river when the 4c comes up. He then shoves the river at me, and I call; caught him bluffing with 8s6o; he was drawing to a better flush, and missed it.

Here, I was aggressive on the flop and turn; v was aggressive on the river. Sometimes you can bluff on the river, but on a flush board facing two pot-sized bets post-flop is probably not the time.

V’s mistakes: Chasing a flush draw with nothing more than the 8s, calling two pot-sized bets to do so.

My calling the shove isn’t all that great of a move, either; I’m beaten by a lot of flushes, and at the river I could also be beat by JJ, J4, T4, 42, TT, 22. Of those possibilities, the strongest likelihood would be J4 – all pocket pairs would raise preflop (with the possible exception of 22).

But when you play suited rag gappers and you flop a flush, you’ve pretty much hit for the best hand you were possibly playing for, and if you’re playing hands like this, you’re accepting being beaten by bigger flushes; you are going to pay them off if they’re out there. When you play 75s, you’re dumping the hand on the flop a lot, and dumping the hand to a lot of re-raises a lot. So when you do hit a flush with it, you don’t want to fold.

My aggression failed: I wanted V to fold, and he refused to do it. V’s aggression failed; he needed me to fold, and I wouldn’t do it.

The result: A great big pot, and a costly one for V, who lost the lead, and went on to lose the game a few hands later. I would have been pretty satisfied taking 160, or 480 chips with this hand, I was willing to go bust if he had it, and instead I take nearly 5000.

Same game, a couple of hands later. V is dealt A6, I’m holding T5s. We both flop a pair; I get top pair, Tens, he gets bottom pair, 66. This is a precarious top pair for me, and again I’d like to just close the action on the flop if I can; I put out another pot-size bet and figure if I get called here, probably I’m up against top pair, better kicker. I get called.

Turn is a 5, improving me to Top/Bottom Two Pair. V shoves, “needing” to win a hand, and needing me to fold in order to do it. I just made two pair, but 89 would have a straight if it’s out there. I accept that it’s a possibility, but I have my opponent covered, and I’d like his entire stack if he’s playing ATo against me and thinks he really has it with Top Pair, Top Kicker. I call; he shows A6, a J on the river seals it, and I get the last of his chips.

Responding aggressively when your opponent is showing aggression themselves may sometimes work, but usually isn’t a great plan unless you’re holding a hand that’s better than 4th pair. Pots tend to get big when two players both think they have it, or both don’t think the other one has it, or when one of them is desperate and feels like they “need” to win a hand in order to get back into it, or feels like they “need” to come back aggressively after taking a big hit to their stack or losing the lead.

Here’s a different game, vs the same player.

I’m holding 98o, and limp, V raises to 2BB, I call.

The flop is good to me, Q98 for middle-bottom two pair. Not a great holding, I’ve fond. It’s probably the best hand at the moment, but is vulnerable to top pair when the board pairs, and as well Q98 is a JT away form being beaten by a straight.

V checks to me; I let out a half-pot bet, v raises me again to 120, I call. I figure they raised small preflop, and raising me again here probably means they’ve hit the flop, probably only for top pair, which means for now I’m still ahead, but if the board pairs, I’m done with the hand, and if I see either a T or J, I’m playing very cautiously, unless they both show up and make me a straight. In general if you’re on two pair, without top pair, and the board pairs, it’s bad news for you, whether top pair just made two pair, or someone else made trips or better.

V is holding QJ, and has Top pair, decent kicker, and an inside straight draw. Of course they’re not folding to me. The Turn card, a 6s, does nothing for either of us. V min-bets, feigning weak, hoping to get raised, and I oblige, taking it up to 240, which is about 2/3 the pot. I’m not being super-aggressive, trying to stack him; I just think a 2/3 bet size is reasonable for what I’m holding. It probably would discourage a purely drawing hand from continuing, but not pair + draw, and almost certainly not top pair + draw.

V calls. I’m curious about this move; since he called here, I’m assuming he is confident in his top pair, so I’m probably looking at QJ, and possibly but not likely QK or QA, although I expect V to raise AQ and KQ higher than 2BB preflop a lot of the time, so probably not holding those, and hopefully not QQ, Q9, Q8, or Q6, all of which are ahead of me right now.

The river is a 4d, a complete brick; V goes for the pot-size bet, I call. I think calling is reasonable here, I don’t have a strong enough hand that I want to raise here. Anything strong enough to bet pot on the river and call a raise is beating 2nd/3rd two pair, and I don’t want to be in the position of raising and then folding here. He could have me beat here, but I’m willing to pay off to see it if he does.

There was a lot of attempted deception here in this hand. V raising me pre and on the flop; then giving me a weak line on the Turn to induce a raise so he could call me. My “mistake” of not making the Turn raise bigger allowed V to think that he could possibly still win the hand, which lead him to put in the big bet on the river, which I was willing to call, and that won me a nice pot – 2520 chips.

Might I have gotten more out of this hand had I raised bigger? Maybe; maybe I get V to fold top pair if I raise to 640 on the turn instead of only 240. Or maybe that puts him all-in on the river, and then I make a nervous call with a fairly mediocre-looking 2 pair. Or maybe it gets to be too much pressure for me and I fold it. I think in this hand, I have a “Goldilocks” thing going on where the pot size is just right for the strength of my hand. Much bigger and I feel like I’m risking too much with only two pair, and I’m probably running two pair into flopped straight.

My final hand of the night, a game-winner playing J3s, making Trip JJJs on a QJJ flop. I’m not crazy about playing this hand, but when it comes to trips, and heads up, kickers often aren’t a factor. I’m allowed to limp the J3, and given that I have such a weak kicker, I’m content to keep this pot small. Which, OK, if we’re talking about useful aggression, a good way to win this hand would have been to raise preflop, because I’m probably not calling with J3s.

I check-call a min-bet Flop and pot-size Turn bet, rather than bet or raise it myself. With a few different opponents, I’ve seen them play this line with me: min-bet the flop, then pot-it at me on the Turn. If I’m on a draw or weak holding like bottom pair, I may call the min-bet, but likely am folding the pot-size bet. It works often enough that you might accuse me of over-folding if you watch me play a lot of hands. I consider whether I possibly am over-folding, or if I shouldn’t try raising back on some flops with weaker pairs and draws when my opponent min-bets. And, well, sometimes I do that. Other times I raise back with stronger stuff, like two pair, trips, or better. So you don’t know when I raise whether I’m holding something strong, and you don’t know when I call whether I’m holding something strong.

V evidently decides this calling means I’m weak, and wants to push me off the pot, so he makes it all-in on the river, overbetting the pot, his remaining 840 going on top of the 360 already in the middle. I decide well I am holding Trips after all, only my kicker is weak, and call, and this ends the game.

I have his stack covered, so if he’s got a better Jack than me, so be it; I can survive it. But he doesn’t, and he doesn’s show what he did have. Apparently I’d had him so annoyed that his previous pot-size bets didn’t force me to lay down that it seems logical that the way to do it is to bet even bigger. It couldn’t possibly be that I’m holding something stronger than what he’s holding.

I think a key to winning all-in hands against a small stack is letting them think they have you on a weak hand, rather than betting aggressively with a strong hand and hoping they’ll be willing to call with a weaker hand.

No doubt here V had Queens again, possibly even Queens and Eights on the river. But once again, their aggression only backfires on them, while I, playing the hand quite passively, take the pot and the game.

Did I play well here, or did I get lucky? I think a bit of both. I’ve certainly been ruined by flopping two pair vs a flopped straight, and not improving, and trying to play it aggressively, as well.

That happened in an MTT tonight, where I, holding KJ, flopped KQJ, and ran it into AT. I tried a pot-size bet on the flop to show that I had a strong hand, trying to dissuade the draws from calling. Of course he’s got it made on the flop, and has no problem calling, and then I put him all-in on the Turn, because Aggression is SO GOOD BRO, and he again has no problem calling. And I fail to make my hand into the full house it needed to be to win on the river. I just love to double up anyone with a smaller stack than me in case they need to go deep into a tournament and are at risk of running out of gas unless they play a hand with me.

I still had plenty of chips left, but decided that I needed to play more hands, more aggressively, in order to get my stack back up to where I had it. Which, of course, naturally had the exact opposite effect. I lose the chips, get deeper into trouble, and then shove A5s into KK to clean myself out. The two previous hands someone shoved and stole the blinds, so it was obviously my turn, but no one told that to KK, who not only called, but then had the nerve to hit a set of Kings on the flop and improve to Kings full of Queens on the Turn. Because there’s nothing the dealer loves more than to see me drawing dead a card after I put myself all-in. It only happens about 75% of the time when I shove and get called.

Because that’s how great aggression is.

1 Like

I’m loving this lol

1 Like

This has me in stitches (LMAO), summary?

I know my posts are way too long but…


I don’t think anybody ever said it was.

I only read the first paragraph because I assume the rest are painful examples of times it didn’t work for you. I 100% agree that there are times when raw aggression doesn’t get the desired result.


@DogsOfWar has posted two responses to this thread which are off-topic and do nothing to advance the conversation, but do antagonize me.

@SunPowerGuru responded with a dismissive and insulting comment to the effect that he didn’t even bother to read my post, and yet he’s qualified to respond to it somehow. I guess because it addresses a topic that I had left another forum thread where he continually replied to my points by re-stating his own point, while saying things that didn’t actually disagree with anything I said about his original point, but in a way that amounts to a dismissive denial of my point.

This is happening in full view of the forum moderators.

Guys, I left that thread for two reasons:

  1. To allow that thread to get back on topic.
  2. To get away from both of you.
1 Like

Context is always important. Normally, this would include stack sizes, blinds, and so on, but when considering when to be aggressive and when to be more passive, you have to cast a wider net. What’s your table image? How are the other players approaching the game? You can’t make informed decisions by looking at a single hand in isolation.

Let’s say the player to your right is limping 3-4 hands per orbit, and you have seen them fold to even a small raise. Have at it, especially if they are raising the very top of their range and limping everything else. Christmas has come early.

Now let’s say that you notice that player hasn’t entered a hand in 2 or 3 orbits, then limps in. Should we assume they haven’t seen a single hand that fits their 35% range in 2 or 3 orbits? Not likely. The obvious answer is that they have tightened up a lot and are now looking to trap. This is NOT the time to show aggression, at least not preflop. However, it is a good time to limp behind with medium pairs or medium suited connectors.

If you manage to flop a strong combo draw or a decent set, fire your normal bet and see what they do. Checking behind is also an option. Adjust to the adjustments before you get burned!

Just as you need to watch every action by every player, even if you aren’t in the hand, you should always assume that they are watching you too. If you show too much aggression against a specific player too often, expect the whole table to adjust, not just that player!

Most mistakes in poker are frequency mistakes. We raise too often or not often enough, fold too much or not enough, and so on. Trying to ramrod every hand by raw aggression is the road to disaster. Thoughtful, well timed aggression is the key.

Thanks for the thoughtful response. Much better than the earlier one.

I’m glad I finally meet with your approval, that means so much to me.

I write in order to help the beginning to intermediate level players that make up the bulk of the forum’s readership. If trying to help people get more out of the game is egotistical, then I am egotistical.

“…endless responses to my counterpoints” is also known as “having a conversation.”

I agreed with your first paragraph. As for the rest… well, either it was examples of how not to play aggro, as the topic suggests, or it was off topic. I’m sure your examples were extremely well written and to the point. I didn’t dismiss them, I just didn’t bother reading them.

I read virtually post on the forum. There’s no escape!

Well, kind of. Frequency errors are the symptoms. The root cause of these errors is a lack of understanding. When we don’t understand ranges, board textures, position, tendencies and so on, all we can do is guess. Guessing isn’t a real strategy.

This goes for aggression as well. If we are guessing on when to apply pressure, we will run over passive nits and get killed by everyone else. If we are just blindly firing into loose passive players, this also leads to bad outcomes. We can’t just throw ‘rock’ every time simply because we think its the scariest/most aggressive option. There are times and places to apply pressure. Without understanding what those times are or what parts of villains’ ranges are vulnerable, there can be no coherent strategy called “aggression”.


Sure, I fully agree. Frequency mistakes are a manifestation of a deeper problem, maybe frequency “based” was a bad choice of words.

I don’t really see aggression as a strategy in and of itself. I see it as more of an exploit. Without understanding someone’s approach to the game, ie what mistakes they are making, we are guessing, not exploiting. We seem to be saying more or less the same thing in different ways.

1 Like

Aggression 101. “When playing from the blinds, a little extra on the bet sizing on the open bet is a good idea.”

Make ready!


Oops - forgot to say “Aim”



I’m not trying to antagonise. I was having a laugh, and was asking for a summary. As @SunPowerGuru said it was extremely long.

If anything I feel this post was created to antagonise me but rather than get upset about it I thought it was funny, including the title. Even so I feel this post was not a personal attack but light hearted banter etc. I like to have a laugh even at my own expense!

On a more serious note though. I’m more interested in discussion - rather than posting hands where I got unlucky - and actually improving my game. If “we” as the Hero did lose a hand what do “we” learn & how can we play better, or improve & alter our strategy.

The following was made about bluffing & semi bluffing and generally being aggressive. It basically advocates a tip or strategy for as you said: “How not to be aggressive.” I thought it was an important insight into adjusting play/strategy.

It gives consideration to the fact we need to, at times, Curb our Enthusiasm for being consistently & overly aggressive. The “Big Question” is? When should we take a free card (not be aggressive) & draw for free?


Generally speaking as OP answered having position or being last to act. There are many more variable tho so…

I could argue all day for the advantages of being aggressive. There are, however, clearly times where discretion & “not being aggressive” are the most profitable line to take in certain situations & scenarios. So help me out?

OFC we don’t want to play the same hand, the same way, every single time. In this scenario or lesson we have position. This is a good opportunity to “not be aggressive” and check to try & draw for free. We could alternatively bet & be aggressive every time & get free chips from folds but if Villain check raises us now what? If we miss the river, now what?

Objective: NBA (Not be Aggressive) Check the turn.

This is a good spot to take a less aggressive line (How not to be aggressive) & play a little defensively & check the turn. My question is with what specific hands, Villains, situations etc. I’ll illustrate some hypothetical scenarios as follows & will try to keep them as uncomplicated as possible:

(EDIT: big surprise they got way too complicated!!!)

Hypothetical scenario: Table is 6MAX med stakes ring & players are 100BB, Hero always has the button, various TBA suited cards (spades) that always flop flush draws, usually aggressor otherwise Villain always checks flops & Hero always bets a flop flush draw & V calls || turn is brick/miss. We will make any Villains decent RP players, but feel free to define player tendencies or styles with out making them extreme.

Hero is aggressive super man Jesus Mike Postle, but he knows how to play defensively & a NBA (not be aggressive) all star with his Zein Baoding Balls for heightened concentration. Also he isn’t cheating.

For simplification purposes. Keep in mind that Hero always flops a flush draw as mentioned:
Scenario 1: Defending HU (calling an open) in position.
Scenario 2: As Above HU but as the aggressor.
Scenario 3: Is still in position as always, but, multi-way. These are very typical RP scenarios to be navigated. Bigger pots & more variables.

What scenarios would NBA play be most commonly used? Personally I’m thinking multi-way & against aggressive opponents capable of check raising the turn. I guess some hands that do have show down.

Scenario 1: UTG raises 3x & folded to Hero & calls HU. Hands: 75s || 98s || KTs || A4s
Flop: 6s3sQd & Turn: Jc

Scenario 2: UTG raises 3x & folded to Hero 10x HU. Hands: AKs || ATs || K6s || 45s
Flop: 3sQs7d & Turn: 9d

Scenario 3: folds to CO makes it 3.5x Hero 11x SB, BB & CO all call. Hands: AQs || KQs || K9s || 27s
Flop: JsTd2s & Turn: Ts

Forget my scenarios: when is a good time to NBA. Please be a little specific.


Very true. Prob is many players get emotional, & having an ability to be aggressive, will be overly aggressive when “guess comes to crunch” with the result being DONK it in. I’ve done it many times.

The following hand I played badly both on the flop & river IMO:


My analysis: is too many players see the flop. A bigger or more aggressive pre flop raise was required to isolate more. Its likely a player has a T with so many callers.

On the river isolated I think I can get a call from AK AQ so its IMO not a terrible aggressive shove isolated. Generally speaking though I think a check in position is better. I’m not a crazy agro maniac thats getting called with A-rags high often enough.

1 Like

Well, Ok. I apologize for misinterpreting your initial response to my post. I thought you were following me from the other thread to make a rude comment, insinuating that my post was too long.

Which it was, but if you don’t want to read it, don’t bother commenting. Contribute something useful to the thread, or don’t bother.

Be that as it may, your last post was fine.

1 Like

Here’s a couple of hands.

I just sat in at a 9-seat ring, 500/1k, buying in for 200k.

I don’t know anyone at the table, only player who’s name I recognize is farolito, but I have no notes on him. I’m playing these hands pretty straightforward in other words.

First thing I see is a lot of limping. That’s what you usually see at these tables. OK.

Hand 1:

I fold my first five hands, until I wake up with KK, on the button. Table limps around, a total of 4 limpers. I put up 10k to open, the entire table folds.

I would have liked to isolate, but I over-bet what anyone was willing to call with here, and take a lousy 5500 chips. I guess it’s better than losing 200k when the one hand that calls is AA.

So that’s one way how not to be aggressive. Come in too strong, and you chill the action at the table so now everyone’s a nit, and all you do is win min pots or face nut monster hands.

You could well reason: but the nut monsters are super rare, surely I can get out of their way, while reaping so many min pots that I’ll profit long-run!

Eh, I guess. On the other hand, if you’re wrong even once and lose a big pot, it can end up equaling the losses.

Hold-em Poker is a 5-street game, and if you’re only winning hands pre-flop, something’s not right about that. Pots are built over the course of the hand, you don’t need to worry about getting it all in preflop just because you’ve got some nice big pair.

Sometimes you do. But rarely if ever as your way of introducing yourself to a table.

Do I regret being over-aggressive? Nah, not really. It’s a lost opportunity, but it’s just a hand. You never really know how these table are going to be. I’ve seen em where EVERYONE wants to see a pot no matter how expensive you make it, and you can raise to 6BB, and get 5-6 limpers all decide they’re calling, and then you’re looking at no better odds, and a much larger pot where someone’s bound to have hit the board better than you did. I didn’t want that to happen with my KK, and I wasn’t calibrated for this table yet as it was only the 6th hand, so I shot a little big.

Hand 2:

Fast forward 5-6 hands later. I’m dealt KQs in the BB seat. More limping ensues; 6 limpers altogether and it comes around to me, button and SB the only ones who fold. I’m in early position, not too crazy about opening.

Factoring in that 10k was a little too large for the previous hand, but that I have a few more limpers this time, plus I don’t have position on anyone in this hand, I decide to open pretty big again, but this time I make it just 8k.

The first two limpers call, then the next player folds, the player behind him raises to 15k, and the next behind him calls, the player behind him folds. I decide to call, then UTG and UTG+1 both fold, so we’re, what, four-way to see the flop with about 80k in the middle.

Flop hits me decent, K96. I’m looking at 4 players to beat. From early position, I could keep it cool and check-raise, and get even more chips in the middle, but I don’t want anyone to get committed here, and all things being equal I guess I’d rather blindly fire in with top pair and a pretty good kicker, and let all the 99 66 and AA in the world beat me.

Having seen this much interest in the pot preflop, I’m not about to go small and expect to see 2-3 folds, so I pot it. 77k to play. Everyone’s out at this point except for farolito, who calls.

The turn, 4c,doesn’t help me, I imagine it doesn’t help him any, but it does put two clubs on the board. Farolito only has 26.5k left in his stack, so I say he’s about committed here, whatever he’s holding. I bet it’s AK, and I’m about to light the rest of my stack on fire because that’s how my luck runs.

On the plus side, if he’s all-in on the turn, he can’t jam me with a river bet and force me to re-think the hand. Which, is nonsense, backwards justification. But I like the idea of putting him all-in to see the next card with two more to go. He does call.

He flips up… AA.

I river a King to suck out, trip KKKs over AAKK, and pull down 285k.

So did aggression work for me? I suppose so. Did it win me the hand? No, it didn’t. Luck won me the hand. Aggression got me a nice big pot for it, and I like that about it, but man I sure got lucky there.

I didn’t intimidate AA into laying down. I didn’t trap AA with a better made hand. I flat out rushed headlong into certain death and rivered a 6-out miracle, despite my suicidal instinct.

And although it’s rude to go south after taking a ginormous pot like that, it’s also late, and I don’t see myself getting that lucky again in another 6 hands, so I cash out.

1 Like


Not at all. Your post was funny & entertaining. As soon as I read it I felt you were taking digs at me but that’s just poker. I like the banter. My posts are way too long & so are yours. That’s a fact. I wish mine were shorter & I wish yours were too. We could both save each other some time. lol

That said I’ll often just ignore posts that don’t contribute to the topic/theme when I create a post. Players do it frequently with mindless hippie dad joke rambling. I’ll almost never report a RP contributor or complain regarding their post despite not just being off topic but almost completely meaningless. I like a laugh but there are other sections of the FORUMs to talk meaningless Seinfields about nothing.

My original posts were not mean to be personal attacks, but I apologise if they came across as such. I also made them short so as not to unnecessarily waste readers time.

If your honest I think you would probably admit that this post was a small dig at me. This kind of entertaining banter behaviour is common in high stakes games between friends. Again I’ll apologise if my comments were out of line but I 99% felt you were taking the Mick.

Getting back to the theme tho: How not to be aggressive? maybe next time you could offer a short summary. Some bullet points etc.

I am always happy to support & contribute to a post even if what I offer is wrong & has no value. I offered my 2 cents worth as to NBA strategy. Yes slow play is great too. What else you got?

1 Like

I really was trying to get a topic on the overrating of aggressive play, without my advocacy for it drowning out the otherwise good and on-topic posts in your thread. I didn’t come here to take a dig at anyone, and wouldn’t have except I was pretty annoyed by the first 3 replies.

When I say aggressive play is overrated, I do NOT mean that aggression is bad. I’ve probably said that enough times now, but it bears repeating before my next most important point, which is:

I do NOT mean that slow play is the only other option.

Slow play is useful in a lot of situations where it can get you a much bigger pot, but it also can get you into trouble and cost you. I could write a whole other thread on pros and cons of slow play, when it’s a good idea, when not to do it.

What else could I, did I mean, then?

I mean pot control. I mean offering opponents holding worse hands bets that they can call so you can be beating them while taking a bigger pot. I mean not pricing the pot so that only nut hands can call, so that every time you end up with a showdown, it’s against your worst nightmare.

It’s not all about pricing out drawing hands. On wet boards it is important to give your opponents a bad price to call. On dry boards you will earn a bigger pot if you are able to keep worse hands calling than if you try to stack them.

It’s also about keeping your opponent guessing, off balance, and not knowing what to expect from you so they don’t know how to play an effective strategy against you.

Aggression is an important part of poker strategy, but the other things I mentioned are often overlooked, yet they compliment aggression better than another helping of aggression.



What you see in one hand varies drastically on these tables.

I used to play 2 9MAX 500/1K a lot, so I’m seeing a lot of hands. Most players are generally preflop calling stations. I play fairly tight on 9MAX. I’ll fold a lot, limp some & try & raise a few hands strong. Generally 4.5 - 7BB will work ok but it varies a lot. That said I find it difficult to raise & isolate on these tables. I’ve raised 12BB & got 4 customers or more many times. Its really frustrating. I’ve raised modestly to 5BB semi regularly & got folds on some tables but these weak folding players are rare 500/1K.

Table image means a lot on these tables from my experience. Keep in mind you can play on the same table often with many of the same players for over an hour. I tend to get a lot of respect after time & winning some chips. This means you can adjust your hand range & bet sizes plus also increase bluff frequency.

If Im not getting hands I will raise semi garbage depending on the table & in the right position maybe 3.5-5BB. I don’t want the players view me as a nit only raising AA etc. This is the old poker philosophy give action get action.

GL in the rings


I was actually going to mention this. I struggle to think of many good aspects of not being aggressive. OFC strategic, intelligent discretion is necessary. The problem is aggression is label as “bingo player” & not being aggressive, passive play & nit also have many negative connotations. I’m naturally an aggressive player. I played bad aggressive poker against players that were just as bad or worse with very little aggression & won often whilst learning to play poker. It was obvious to me it was profitable & worked well despite the fact I didn’t really know how to play.

Despite the fact I am naturally aggressive I don’t play SnGs “aggressively” enough even now. The reason is I don’t play or practice them enough. I play reasonable well in SnGs but a more aggressive player would beat me often. I still win often bc other players are weaker, not aggressive enough & don’t know how to counter aggression.

Get me on a table with an aggressive LAG or maniac and I’m now possibly the biggest nit at the table.

I’ll still keep playing aggressively for the most part bc players are way too passive & weak.

Sorry to keep gong on about aggression but do keep in mind the Title: "How not to be aggressive"

Generally speaking though poker player talk about switching gears. I would say adapting to players, possibly more importantly adjusting & responding appropriately to a situation. Pot Control as you mention is extremely important.

Another point for this thread should be defensive bets. I won’t go into detail but both pot control & defensive bets are great additions to out poker skills.

For sure you can win a lot playing a few hands aggressively but just as easily lose it very quickly playing “badly”.

100% agree. I think this was most of the disagreement & debate. Just bc Villain is aggressive doesn’t mean they cant play defensive & intelligent poker.

Good players can switch gears with varying degrees of aggression when necessary.