But as you begin to move up through the levels then you are going to face more players who show just as much aggression as what you do and who also do it at the appropriate times just like you do.
There is one key word that not only dominates your entire philosophy in poker but also in life as well and that is "balance". It is crucial that you achieve the correct balance in everything that you do. For instance you may love to watch television or to read a book but if you do too much of either then it is blatantly obvious that within a very short space of time then other areas of your life will begin to suffer.
This balance between not doing something enough and doing it too much is paramount in everything that we do in life and poker is no different. This is why I don't agree with much of the conventional recognised theory that is being bandied about today. In an age where more and more players are seeking out poker knowledge and improving their games like never before then I simply cannot see the long term use of having everyone play the same way.
There are so many variables in poker that you can achieve success without resorting to copying someone else's style of play however successful they may be. But as you begin to move up through the levels and certainly when you hit the $3-$6 level at NLHE then it is imperative that you inject some creativity into your play.
It is for this reason that I don't necessarily agree with much of the perceived way of playing that is being coached today at the lower levels between $0.25-$0.50 and $2-$4. I find the overall methods although effective to be no more than short term fixes to what is a long term problem. So what are the appropriate aggression factors in short handed NLHE games or any poker game for that matter?
Good question and one that it is impossible to answer within any reasonable time frame and certainly impossible to answer within the confines of this short article. But the correct level of aggression for any one particular situation can only be arrived at by analysing a myriad of factors before we find the desired level. In fact it gets so complex at the higher levels that even PokerTracker cannot adequately do the job despite this being a great and invaluable tool.
It is simply not sufficient to say that "I should be aiming towards being a 22-18 player" or whatever statistics you want to put to it. This will help you at the lower levels but what happens after that when you are playing poker without ever increasing your earn rate and inflation is gradually eroding what you are earning? I am not offering any short term solutions here because there are none but what I am saying is that many people who think that they have cracked poker and who are winning money are to quote a phrase "in the eye of the storm".
There will be tough times ahead either when your games get tougher and too many players are comparable in skill to you or because you cannot move beyond a certain level and your earnings are being eroded. This is certainly food for thought and it should make everyone sit up and take note about how they are approaching their poker today.
Carl "The Dean" Sampson is sponsored by Pokerheaven