The Mathematics of Aggression

How effective is aggressive play in online Texas Hold'em? Now, no guessing here. I want the facts.

A very detailed study carried out by Carnegie-Melon University showed the precise value of aggressive play. For the sake of this exercise, they had their computer-simulated player come out playing aggressively on every hand, regardless of pocket pair quality, against a varied field of opponents. There were two very distinct scenarios (and only two) where this was a winning strategy.

One - against a loose table, very aggressive play was a winning strategy. In the case of our experiment, betting pre-flop on every single hand added up to moderate winnings. In a real online game, betting like a maniac on every hand may diminish the power of this strategy because other players will pick up on your strategy - but we suspect, not by much in online play. Again, the secret is finding the right table. Imagine the joy of sitting down at a large table full of new players and yours is the biggest stack. Like 'shooting fish in a barrel' as they say. This is the kind of table you are searching for.

Two - against three or less players, this aggressive approach was also a net moneymaker. As soon as you go to four players or better, the technique started to haemorrhage serious money. All of our research shows that bluffing at full or near full tables is a waste of money, and this study supports that. At the end of this chapter we have included a complete chart on the pocket hands that successfully take the pot based on number of players at the table. You will see quite clearly that strong hands double in power and relatively weak cards can become big winners. Narrow the field and you can pump up the power of your cards.

/An excellent indicator of playing style is that the bankrolls of tight players tend to go down in small amounts incrementally, and periodically go up in mid and large amounts. Watching stacks can give you valuable information about player style.

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