Tips for managing aggression?

NineLions

NineLions

Advanced beginner
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I've been criticized in some HH threads for playing some hands too passively, particularly JJ, QQ, needing to reraise depending on the situation to define my hand.

So, I've tried to add that to my play, but it seems that something else has leaked out in the process of opening that aggression tap. Now I'm finding that I can't lay down hands when someone tries to tell me that I'm beat.

Something about opening that little bit more aggression has made me unable to stop when I should. Instead of opening a tap a bit more it's as if the faucet is broken so when it's used it just can't be stopped. If you haven't experienced it, this probably sounds a little weird. Part of it may be that I may be reading other people playing back at me as if they're just reacting to my aggression rather than that they've hit their hand.


Anyone else experienced this? Any tips for how to manage that edge better? In the heat of the moment it seems difficult to control, and my bankroll has taken a beating this past week as a result.

:(

I have stepped down in levels, and am also playing cheap SnGs to try to redevelop my survival instincts, but the problem is that I want to keep some of what I've added to my game, but without the side effects.
 
Irexes

Irexes

Legend
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This is normal I think and a part of an evolving approach to the game.

One way is to think of poker as a series of dials (or faucets (or taps as we call them over here)). You have to set each dial correctly to get the optimum result.

So you have a dial for preflop card selection, a dial for the importance of position, a dial for the size of your stack, one for your read on your opponents and so on.

You then set all these dials prior to the game and begin to play.

My default SnG settings are very different from my MTT and different again from my cash, but the most important thing is to know when to change the dials during the game and also during each hand as the information you have and the context you are in change.

What you have done is turn up your base aggression dial, but as you say you are unable to turn in down during a hand.

So how do you spot when to do this? Well the problem is if you've not been reraising before in certain spots and suddenly start, or are making a lot more continuation bets then you have to learn it from scratch and are going to need to make all the mistakes in order to get it right.

You don't want or need to put the genie back in the bottle, you need to understand the new tool you have and learn when to employ it (moved from dials to tools here). Moving down in stakes is good and gives you a chance to make mistakes in order to learn, you also might want to continue to play at your previous levels but consciously lower the setting of the aggression dial in an effort to lose less.

When I discovered continuation bets (a while back now) my game fell apart for while as I understood the concept but not when to deploy it. Eventually I got the hang of it and am amazed I made money before using it as a standard part of my game.

What you are finding is that sometimes you take a step back to take two forward Nine, persevere :)
 
NineLions

NineLions

Advanced beginner
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Thanks Irexes, both for the encouragement as well as the advice.

You're right on about the genie into the bottle thought. I need to make this adjustment, but need to put it into perspective or get it more under control. Instead of opening the tap a bit more, I'm getting big round blobs of aggression coming out (sounds a bit disgusting when I describe it like that, but that's how I picture it).

An example from earlier today; raised preflop, I reraise w/QQ. Flop comes with an Ace, checked to me in position so I c-bet, and he reraises me. Instead of thinking, He knew I would c-bet so he planned a check-raise and now I know he has an Ace, I react with, He doesn't believe that I have anything, I'll show him ... with predictable results.


But later I survived a SnG. Mind you, the players were pretty weak so not much aggression was required, but maybe it's a step in the direction of getting things balanced.


Thanks again.
 
Irexes

Irexes

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An example from earlier today; raised preflop, I reraise w/QQ. Flop comes with an Ace, checked to me in position so I c-bet, and he reraises me. Instead of thinking, He knew I would c-bet so he planned a check-raise and now I know he has an Ace, I react with, He doesn't believe that I have anything, I'll show him ... with predictable results.

And that's one more mistake you don't have to make again :)

When I bust out, or lose a critical hand I always turn it over and over after the fact, looking to see if I did anything wrong. This way the mistake hopfullly ends up as a positive as it saves you lots of money in the future as you avoid doing it again.


Aggression is all about picking your spots. Apply some Sun Tzu and choose the battlesite yourself with all the factors in your favour rather than letting your opponent decide for you when it suits him.

You also need to remove the ego from the game, "I'll show you" has no place (I know you already know this), you are simply aggressive when it is correct to be so and fold when it is correct to do so (that's Japanese war strategy text and zen advice in the same post which is nice :) ).
 
NineLions

NineLions

Advanced beginner
Joined
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Total posts
4,979
And that's one more mistake you don't have to make again :)

When I bust out, or lose a critical hand I always turn it over and over after the fact, looking to see if I did anything wrong. This way the mistake hopfullly ends up as a positive as it saves you lots of money in the future as you avoid doing it again.


You also need to remove the ego from the game, "I'll show you" has no place (I know you already know this), you are simply aggressive when it is correct to be so and fold when it is correct to do so (that's Japanese war strategy text and zen advice in the same post which is nice :) ).


Except when I lose to the same hand, but with a different line of reasoning, like losing to a straight because I didn't see it, as opposed to later losing to a straight because I didn't believe it. :)

I requested the Zen/Poker book from the library but had it sent to the wrong location, so now I've got to wait for it to become available again. Somehow there's something zen about that.
 
Irexes

Irexes

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I requested the Zen/Poker book from the library but had it sent to the wrong location, so now I've got to wait for it to become available again. Somehow there's something zen about that.

Ha ha, excellent.


Just remember, "be the ball."
 
Schatzdog

Schatzdog

Visionary
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Jun 29, 2005
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693
You're developing a new skill and evolving as a player. In developing a new skill it obviously takes time until you learn to use it properly. I had pretty much the same pattern when I tried to get more aggression into my game, but it's made a huge difference to my results now. Stick with it. Combine your aggression with your table image, position and notes/read on your opponents. Selective aggression is the way to go.
 
NineLions

NineLions

Advanced beginner
Joined
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4,979
Thanks Schatz. I'll try not to go broke in the process while I'm at it.

:)
 
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