the HU aggression dilemma
ok so ive been getting a little heat for disagreeing with an aggression strategy by default.
when it comes to HU play it seems most of the experienced players recommend aggression: raising most buttons, c-bets/barrels, etc.
let me explain: when a game begins with a player you havent seen before, why wouldnt you look him up for a few hands before starting off aggressively?
let me throw out an example. say youve been raising a lot of buttons and c-betting and youve been getting A LOT of folds. would you say his range is TT+? or maybe something not worse than T9?
now imagine you raise button and flop comes 9,5,2, and your holding K-8. now this is a good flop to c-bet/barrel with, right? because you assume this flop shouldnt be in his range since he has been folding a lot. you fire off a few bets(while missing your hand) and he bets pot on the river.
what are you gonna do? is he holding AA or another pocket pair/set? or maybe he has ace high and missed his draw? or is he simply fed up with your aggression and wants to counter? its a dilemma now because you got king high, but youll probably fold anyway because hes been playing tight and probably has something.
or lets say you decide to look him up and you call. he turns over 2 pair nines and fives. now you gotta account for a much wider range. are you gonna continue firing barrels on a random flop?
now lets assume this opponent has been folding random junk like T-2o, 2-7o, and other random, non-connecting cards for like 10 hands in a row. but because you decided to open up aggressively and he folds a lot, you have no idea that actually 9-5 is in his range.
now your forced to adjust and he has the edge against you because now you gotta figure him out quick, and he sees your true colors. now your not sure of his range and being aggressive might not work anymore.
ok, hypothetical example aside:
i think that aggression as a default strategy is not good if you dont know your opponent. its better to take it easy and try to see as many of his hands as possible before the blinds rise.
besides, is all that aggression worth it to steal meagre blinds? especially when you make 1 miscalculation and lose all those stolen blinds and some more of your stack?
of course, raising the button does not mean bet all your chips away. but why would you raise the button if you arent gonna raise the flop?
on the other side of the coin, what if your aggressive and your opponent just calls everything except when he has garbage at the river (or when it becomes clear to him you hit a monster). he calls with anything face card high. now what are you gonna do? maybe half the time you steal the river pot, and half the time he gets it. what does aggression achieve then? larger pots for a quicker game. but other than that, your skills and pot swings have equilibrium.
i think with skilled, tight play, you might lose all the small pots but win all the big pots.
also another thought. when your aggressive opponent thinks your range is 9 or 10 to ace, you can steal plenty of pots with a simple min raise if the flop is in the range he thinks you have.