Rock solid or a rock head?

February 05, 2017, Al Spath  

So the debate rages on, do I play solid-aggressive poker or do I play with reckless abandon? I sometimes think the answer lies somewhere in between the two.

I strive to teach beginners to play solid-aggressive or tight-aggressive poker and avoid the natural tendency to get involved often playing any two cards.

When you start with good holdings and raise, you have a better chance of winning more hands, a time-tested strategy for success.

I also believe beginners should see the flop only around 12-18 percent of the time, which may not be a lot but it’s more manageable for them to play solid hands while gaining table experience.

After a few months, this should increase slightly to about 15-23 percent, which is an excellent range.

You see, as players become table savvy, reading more, working with a mentor, taking more risks as they learn position and how to read other players, their game rapidly expands.

The intermediate and advanced players certainly don’t play as beginners with solely a solid-aggressive style of play.
They know when to open up their game, against whom and the why. That’s what sets them apart from the pack; they can change speeds and cause problems for opponents.

On the other hand, Rock Heads might begin playing for the enjoyment of busting someone’s chops, for entertainment value or for a chance to become a champion and win some money. But they think they can do it their way and aren’t open-minded to hear or read about the instructional materials available.

This can be frustrating at times and you certainly wouldn’t want an overabundance of these type players at your table, but rather have them spread out at various tables so all of us can have an opportunity to match our skills against them.

Not all of them are as silly and maniacal as you think. Many have a reason for the way they play and though we might not always agree or see why they played a hand a certain way, we need to better understand them to find out why they’re scooping such big pots.

If you don’t understand why your opponent is outplaying you, then it’s your fault that you’re losing so often.

There are counter measures you could use, but if you’re just sitting there telling the world how awful someone at your table is for winning most of hands, you’ve missed something real important.

— Al Spath is the former Dean at Poker School Online and continues to teach poker online and live. His free YouTube Poker Channel (Al Spath) has hundreds of instructional videos to view. Al’s live broadcasts are on TwitchTV: follow (PositivePokerInsiders). Contact Al directly at alspath@alspath.com with questions coaching inquires.