I often play against colleagues and friends in home games, but some of them are very agressive and seem to be constantly trying to steal the pot and scare other players off.

Are there any rules that I should stick to whilst playing this type of player?

  • 1
    Play tighter, play huge cards but play them very aggressively. Don't allow many players after the flop, make big fat raises before the flop with your big hands. To quote a phrase from Harrington: all your cards are better than what they look against aggressive players.
    – user1165
    Jun 20, 2015 at 0:13
  • 1
    Scare the aggressor ! Wait for few good hands , hit him hard but silently when u have the bullets . Create a fear in him.
    – user3455
    Jul 4, 2015 at 10:06
  • @user3455 I converted your answer into a comment because it just wasn't full enough. You need to expand a bit on your answers, provide more detail and explanation as to why that is the correct approach. If you have something like that, I strongly encourage you to post it :) . Jul 4, 2015 at 10:39
  • I found the comments much more helpful than the accepted answer. I love Sklansky's "Theory of Poker" too: amazon.com/dp/B001QCYJQ2/… . I'll definitely check out the book recommendation, but surely there is a better answer than "be a better poker player / read a book", not to be condescending ;-) Dec 8, 2019 at 3:13

4 Answers 4


I don't mean to be condescending. Really I am not! The answer to your question is you should learn to be a good poker player. The best way to learn something is to follow the example of masters.

My poker experience started with David Sklansky books.

I suggest "No Limit Hold ‘em Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller". You can google other books.It's a personal choice.

Of course, if you're not interested investing into this game beyond home games for fun, then you could read basic strategies online. Poker Strategy is a good place to start.

There's no simple answer to your question. Every strategy will always have a counter-strategy :-)

  • That makes complete sense, thanks for the feedback :).
    – Sam
    Jun 22, 2015 at 8:42
  • Pedant alert here. Is it really true that every strategy will have an effective counter strategy? The implication in your statement is that there is some way to exploit any given strategy, but I don't think it's a given that there does not exist some strategy that cannot be exploited. Certainly any human playing poker will inevitably reveal some tendencies that can be exploited by expert players, but that doesn't mean that an unexploitable strategy doesn't exist. Jun 22, 2015 at 16:11
  • I think if a game has a strategy that cannot be defeated it is a game that needs an urgent change of rules. This is true for any game. Otherwise, why play the game at all, if you know a set of moves/decisions that will always make you a winner or, worse, a loser? There's been a number of attempts to make a Artificial Intelligence (AI) to play poker. Some of the programs are very successful, yet they are far far away from being unbeatable.(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_poker_players#Research_groups)
    – Roman Mik
    Jun 23, 2015 at 19:44
  • You mean like tic-tac-toe or checkers? Those are solved games and a computer (or a chicken, in the case of tic-tac-toe) can be taught to play the game with no chance of losing. This doesn't mean the game is any less of a game for human opponents. And when you throw in the chance element of the card distribution in poker, there is still plenty of "game" remaining to keep it fun. Jun 26, 2015 at 19:22
  • And just because there is not yet an unbeatable NLHE bot doesn't mean there cannot be an unbeatable NLHE bot. Jun 26, 2015 at 19:23

Ed Miller's "Playing the Player" book addresses these points pretty well. It's not really a beginner's book, but anyone with some experience at live tables will certainly recognize the player types he discusses. The book covers the player types, their apparent goals when they take the lines they do during hands, and presents some effective strategies to play against them. I recommend it, as well as Ed Miller's other books.


Besides reading books, two basic points:

  1. You can play more hands out of position when you're playing against aggressive players, because you can rely on them to generate (similar) action every hand. This widens your range, and makes you more unpredictable.

  2. Related to the above, you can use check-raising (when you have the nuts, or a very good draw) a lot more effectively against an aggressive player. You can often get them to fold after committing pot-sized bets when they meet a reraise with a stronger hand. This is spectacularly -EV for them.


Modern poker is ultra aggressive. You should be used to play against this kind of players if you play on line. Raise when you are the favorite against their range. Raise 3x, 4x, 5x... until they stop calling or three betting, if necessary go all-in. That's all.

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