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Aggressive Play vs. Passive Play in Poker

Learn the pros and cons of aggressive play vs. passive play from poker champion Nick "Nicky Numbers" Brancato in this Howcast video.


Hey, I'm Nicky Numbers, I'm a professional poker player and I'm going to talk to you today about playing aggressively versus playing passively. The most important thing to know about passive play in No Limit Hold 'Em is that it's rarely correct. The overwhelming majority of the time when you're playing a hand and you're playing across multiple streets, you want to be the aggressor.

Whenever you play poker you're going to make mistakes, but you control the kinds of mistakes that you're going to make. You don't want to make passive mistakes, you want to make aggressive mistakes. When you're aggressive sometimes good things accidentally happen to you. When you're passive, very rarely do good things accidentally happen to you.

Passive players enter pots by limping into them, by calling raises, and by infrequently raising and re-raising themselves. Aggressive players, on the other hand, enter pots and they come in raising, they're raising or they're re-raising and they're rarely entering the pot passively except under very specific criteria. And the reason for that is because a passive strategy is a losing strategy unless it's executed just right, which is really hard to do. In general, if you're trying to choose between calling or folding, fold.

If you're trying to choose between calling or raising, raise. In other words, if you're going to continue in a hand as a general default you want to be the aggressor.

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