The Fear of Playing Aggressively

Pick up any poker strategy book and you’re bound to come across one universal concept: aggressive players win money in poker. And since this point is stressed so much in the game, many players realize they must play more aggressively if they’re ever to see major poker profits or earn free poker money. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done: since playing aggressively means putting more money on the line, some people are downright scared to play aggressively.

Why People are Scared to play Aggressively

The majority of people who pick up poker start with the tight/passive mindset, playing a conservative game without making expensive mistakes. But this strategy doesn’t allow players to maximize their profits on great hands; so a switch to the tight/aggressive style is the next move. This is a step up from tight/passive, but it doesn’t allow players to steal blinds from opponents, and profits on great hands are still minimal since opponents won’t call big raises.

This is when it comes time to become an aggressive player; but the bad thing is that, despite knowing aggressive players make more money, people can’t do it because of their fear of losing. These are the same people who play to break even rather than to win, and you can’t fault these people for being scared. Playing aggressively accelerates the process of losing poker money and some people don’t have money to blow.

Developing an Adequate Bankroll

We’ve established that people are scared to play aggressively since money is lost much quicker this way. The obvious cure to this is to avoid playing at limits which you can’t afford. If you’ve only got a bankroll of $100 and you’re playing $3/$6 at Party Poker, at Full Tilt Poker, or at any other site, it’s no wonder you play tight – you’ll blow through your bankroll otherwise.

What you need to do is either wait to build your bankroll up to an acceptable level or even better, start at lower limits and work your way up. A good rule of thumb is to have enough in your bankroll to cover 250 big blinds; in the case of $3/$6 limits this would be $1,500.

Learn Some Strategy

You can have tons of money in your bankroll and be as aggressive as possible, but none of it means anything if you don’t know any poker strategy. And a big mistake many people make when playing the game is jumping up limits before having learned enough about poker.

It would be a lie to say learning poker strategy from books or by grinding at low limit tables is always a fun process. After all, there is no major money involved in low limits, and a player doesn’t earn any cash while reading a book or article. However, learning as much as you can about the game will make you a more confident player – and more confidence makes a player aggressive!

Make the Move Inch by Inch

When becoming a more aggressive player, you can’t just jump into games and start throwing out huge pre-flop raises when you’ve never done so in the past. The key is to make the transition from a tight to aggressive player a smooth, well-planned process; it’s not an overnight thing.

Step down a couple of limits and try betting out and raising more to see how it affects your play. Another thing to do is play at your normal limit, but pick certain hands to be more aggressive with. Monitor your progress when making these changes so you can judge exactly how aggressive you need to be to make more money.