The Hammer

When you see a super-aggressive player move into a pot, and you have some kind of reasonable hand, don't just call; come over the top with a big raise. This takes courage, but if you've assessed your opponent correctly, you'll win the pot immediately a substantial amount of the time. Remember that, paradoxically, super-aggressive players aren't looking for expensive confrontations. They just want to keep stealing blinds and pots, investing as few of their chips in the process as possible. Once in a while, of course, they'll actually have a real hand, and you'll be in big trouble. But you don't really have a choice; if you and the other players don't stand up, eventually the super-aggressive player will scoop all the chips at the table. (When you see one of the well-known aggressive players at a final table on television, notice how often they have either the biggest or the second-biggest stack at the table. That's because weaker players backed down throughout the tournament.)

Example No. 1. You're in fourth position with


H i



i - - .^l




The player first to act folds. A super-aggressive player in second position opens for triple the big blind. The player in third position folds. What do you do?

Answer: You come over the top with a big raise, say pot-sized or even larger. A conservative player would need a real hand to open in second position, and against such a player you could lay down your K^QV. But against a player who's willing to open with any piece of trash, king-queen is a fine hand, so play it aggressively.

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