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Have you ever felt like you’re being run over by an aggressive opponent?
If you have, you know it’s beyond frustrating.
You might tell yourself that you’ll eventually have the hand to catch him, but the spot never arrives. Instead, you find yourself having to make fold after fold, until, in frustration, you make some poorly timed bluffs or hero-calls that don’t work out.
But there are ways to prevent this from happening…
In this final preview for his new Elite Cash Game Exploits course (which drops in 3 days with a special launch week offer), high-stakes cash game pro Uri Peleg will share some simple but effective tips for exploiting aggressive opponents.
(Note: Click here to sneak a peek inside the course before it comes out.)
Uri Peleg’s 5 Tips For Handling Aggressive Opponents
- Play more passively with strong hands
- Fold or raise with weaker hands on earlier streets
- Be more aggressive with draws
- Call down wider (but not to an extreme extent)
- Consider protecting showdown information (i.e. don’t let him see showdowns that will clue him into your strategy)
These might seem like simple adjustments, but few players know how to make these adjustments effectively. On top of that, there are also a lot of “GTO” players out there who won’t make any adjustments at all.
It’s important to understand that playing GTO against aggressive opponents will generally result in breaking even unless your opponent makes a severe blunder. If you aren’t making exploitative adjustments against your opponents, you’re simply leaving money on the table.
Let’s look at a hand example and consider potential exploitative adjustments one might make against an aggressive opponent:
Blinds $25/$50. 3-handed.
The Button has a $1,376 stack (27.5bb) to start the hand. Uri covers in the Big Blind.
Note: Keep in mind that the focus of this section will be on analyzing how Uri should play his range moreso than his specific hand.
The Button raises to $100, Small Blind calls, and Uri calls with J♦ 9♥.
Straightforward stuff here. Uri is getting 5-to-1 on a call and has a hand that, while often dominated, is good enough to take a flop.
The flop is 9♠ 3♠ 2♠ with $300 in the pot. The action checks to the Button who bets $100. Small Blind folds. Uri calls.
This is a tough spot for Uri’s range against an aggressive opponent who has bet into two people. J9 (no spade) is certainly not a hand one should be eager to call down to the river with…
That said, against a 33% pot-sized bet, J9 is doing reasonably well against the opponent’s range. It’s likely an aggressive opponent who uses this size is doing so with a merged range that includes hands like 77 that might bet on the flop and check down.
If you wanted to make some overfolds on this flop (as tip #2 above advises), you could fold weak pair hands like A2 or 44 (no spade), or hands that would normally make sense to float like Ax 6♠. These combos are “GTO” calls, but they’re towards the bottom of a GTO calling range, which Uri argues makes them a fold versus an aggressive opponent who will frequently barrel.
Anyway, J9 seems like a clear call on the flop and likely a fold on the turn.
The turn is the (9♠ 3♠ 2♠) Q♥ with $500 in the pot. Uri checks and calls a $250 bet.
Uri’s opponent uses a savvy bet size, here, which puts his range (and his specific hand) in a tough spot on the turn. If Uri is anticipating a lot of river aggression, this is probably a good spot to make a tight fold with more 9x than one normally would.
The difficulty with overfolding 9x, however, is that the opponent only bet around half pot. If this were a 75% pot-sized barrel, Uri thinks he could easily fold. But against this sizing, he thinks J9 is forced to call again.
The river is the (9♠ 3♠ 2♠ Q♥) T♣. With $1,000 in the pot, Uri donk-leads for a min-bet of $50. The Button calls.
(I’m gonna paraphrase what Uri said for this river analysis.)
“I do a lot of experimenting with new strategies when I play poker. Although I don’t take this min donk bet on the river line very often anymore, here’s my reasoning behind it:
It’s likely I thought when my opponent bet half pot on the turn, he had narrowed his range down to mostly really weak value hands worse than J9 or a weak bluff.
I think when I arrive at this river, my opponent will have plenty of value hands in his range that might call my donk bet. However, he shouldn’t have very many value hands that will be able to raise.
My plan here was to bet small in hopes that my opponent feels forced to overbluff heavily and I can hero call.”
In this case, the opponent has a straightforward call when he rivers a good pair, but against aggressive players these types of awkward lines can induce mistakes. These sort of lines can also be useful for playing with an opponents’ psychology — that’s something Uri goes into more detail about in the Elite Cash Game Exploits course.
Uri’s opponent shows JTo for a rivered pair and he scoops the $1,100 pot.
Elite Cash Game Exploits Drops On Monday (April 25th)
Here’s what you get inside the course:
Keep in mind that Bonus #1 (the free Red Line Rocketship course) expires on Friday (April 29th) so make sure you pull the trigger fast to get that value.
For a full course walkthrough, watch the last 6 minutes of the video at the top of this article. Or click here to get a special sneak peek inside.