Aggressively Calling. I had never heard of that before this past Tuesday night. One guy I was playing with was making some of the strangest calls I've ever seen, and he said it was because another player told him that he was too timid, and that he should be more aggressive. Now, you tell me...........how can calling be aggressive? Its the exact same thing as limping!
Honestly, I have three problems with his new strategy.
1. He's listening to one of the worst tournament players I play with. The guy is an amazing cash game player. I hate being at the same table as him in a cash game. But his cash skills do not transfer over to the tournament game. They depend far too much on giant risk taking and he busts out of far too many tournaments in the first hour or two.
2. Calling is chasing....period. It is not even close to being aggressive. It allows someone else to be aggressive, and then limping behind them and hoping your hand hits.
3. When he did get aggressive, he just shoved all his chips into the middle without regard for the blinds or how much he was actually risking. For example, with 6 people at the final table, he was the chip leader, and he was first to act after the big blind. What does he do? He shoves all in. That's not aggressive. That's stupid. Everyone folded, and he picked up the smallest amount of chips available on the hand.
So what is aggressive then? What was the cash game player really trying to tell him? I'm glad you asked....and I'm going to tell you what I think.
1. Sensing Weakness. An aggressive player can sense weakness in other players, and press accordingly. My hand yesterday was a prime example. I raised on the button with 2-7, trying to steal the blinds. I was called by the big blind. If she had anything, she would have raised. Then on the flop, she checks. I see two hearts out there, so I bet. She calls. There's no straight on the board, so its obvious she is chasing the flush. Turn comes, no heart, I push more chips. She calls. Now I KNOW its a flush draw. River, she checks again. No heart. I have NOTHING, and if I check, she is guaranteed to have no pairs, but the high card. So I shove MORE chips, and win the hand. AGGRESSIVE. Didn't have to shove all my chips early, because with the flush draw she might have called, and then what? That's why his under the gun all in as the chip leader was so stupid. The only hand that will call him will beat him.
2. Taking controlled chances. Yeah, kind of like #1 above. Remember the word CONTROLLED though. The last thing you want is to go home early because of stupidity. I did it Monday night (wrote about it yesterday). It was my stupidity that killed me, because the bet I made was not controlled. And I did not take into account that the two biggest callers and chasers in the game were in the hand with me. Neither one EVER considers what the other guy might have. A good player would have folded. So remember that the chance you take could be your last, so don't put yourself in a deadly position just to be cute.
3. Calling with greatness. Seriously, pushing with trash is OK. Someone has to call you. But calling with A-8 of clubs means you are calling someone else with the hope of hitting a flush. And if you know math, you know how stupid it is. So raise and push with A-8 if you like living on the edge. But calling with it is just dumb. I said DUMB. And I meant DUMB. Sorry, but I saw it from this guy 3 times that night, and it is just killing me still. Why would ANYONE call another all in, of reasonable size, praying for a flush and a flush only to win?
4. Know when you are beat. If the flop is 10 high, and a preflop raiser shoves all in after the flop.....your pair of 10's is NO GOOD. Heck, why did you call the original raise in the first place with a single 10 in your hand? I've demonstrated here in the last two days that calling with two 10's is probably stupid. One is downright ignorant! OK, that's a little extreme. I take back the downright part.
5. Play your cards for what they are worth. If you limp preflop, and get a raise, why do you then call the raise? You originally thought that the hand was worth seeing the flop for 300 chips. Somebody then raises to 1500, and you call again? Why? How did your hand suddenly go from being worth 300 to being worth 1500? And if it is worth 1500....then bet 1500 ****ing chips on it to begin with. STOP LIMPING!!!!! GET AGGRESSIVE AND RAISE WITH IT TO BEGIN WITH!!! Nothing screams BAD POKER PLAYER worse than someone who limps and calls any raise. It just means they have a chasing hand and they are hoping. I have a great story on this, but I'll hold it til another day. Its too fresh, and causes me much too much anger even thinking about it, let alone typing it.
OK, that's enough for today. I need a valium just to get back to normal. But venting is good for the soul sometime.