Aggression and the double-barrel move in poker



Everyone always talks about aggression in relation to poker: “If you’re in there calling, you got to be in there raising.”

Raise, reraise or fold. Those are your options. Bet or raise. Calling is not an option. Calling is failure. Calling is weak. It’s passive. Raising or betting is cool. It’s bold. It’s aggressive. Sexy even. When you call, you must have the best hand at showdown to claim the chips in the middle.

By raising or betting, you could show immediate profit when your opponent folds or you could win a larger pot when you have the best hand. Betting or raising is by far the superior option. I speak generally.

Of course there are going to be situations where calling is OK. For example, you raised preflop with aces and the flop came A-A-2. Yeah, it’s OK to induce your opponent to take a stab). These situations are few and far between, though. Let’s say you have A-Q and raise preflop and get one caller. The flop comes 10-2-3. Your opponent checks, you bet, he calls. The turn is a king. He checks to you. You should be betting 100 percent of the time in this spot against weak, passive opponents. You could easily have K-Q or A-K. By double-barreling, you become a more difficult opponent. You force opponents into a tough spot and force them to make the mistake.

Betting is rarely a mistake, by the way. Hell, you might bet the turn and he might call. The river may be a jack or an ace and bingo we win anyway. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger. Think about what your perceived range of hands is in this spot. You raised preflop and bet a dry flop. Then when the king came on the turn you bet again. It looks kind of strong.

Your opponent may fold better hands, such as 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, 9-10, J-10, Q-10, A-10, maybe even J-J when the king hits the turn and you double-barrel. You would be committing a sin if you didn’t semibluff this beautiful turn card.

Go on, go play at your poker room and try it. Remember, you owe me 10 percent from the pots you pick up from here on out.

— Mike Wolf is a team pro at Email him at and follow his adventures on Twitter @mikewolf7.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine