No Limit vs. Limit Hold ‘Em

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One of the most intriguing parts of poker strategy to me is the difference between playing Limit Hold ‘Em and No Limit Hold ‘Em. The game is the same, the rules the same, but appropriate playing strategy between the two games is remarkably different, to the point where players really good at one game have a hard time adjusting to play the other.

Many of the most successful no limit players are very conservative, especially in what hands they will start with. This is a good strategy for no limit hold ‘em, because when you do have a very strong hand, you have the ability to get a huge number of chips—even two to four times your entire chip stack. In limit hold ‘em this isn’t the case. Because of the betting structure it is harder to bluff in limit hold ‘em, and there won’t be a lot of doubling up unless you are very much the short stack.

A good no limit hold ‘em player is selective about hands because every hand can be for all of the chips. A good limit player limps in with lesser hands more often because they know with the betting limited catching the big hands will pay off for the extra blinds. This doesn’t mean you play trash like 2-7 off suit, but hands that aren’t strong for a call in no limit (J-9 off suit) are playable for the blinds in limit. For this reason, the shift from no limit to limit hold ‘em is much easier for aggressive players who like to see a lot of flops.

Because of the limited betting, position becomes more important. You can’t try to steal out of position, bluffing by raising heavy because your raises are limited. You want to play all the even moderately good hands you can near the button, in strong position, but shy away from the weak position unless you have an overwhelming hand. It’s also much harder to force chasers to fold since they can always just call your bet and continue.

This makes it correct to play aggressive whenever you are playing. “Ram and jam” is the strategy to follow, and there are several reasons for this. For one, by making a habit of raising, other players will be more likely to call on iffy hands later on because you’ll have a reputation of raising the pot. This is the only way to cut down on chasers in limit, since you can’t go all in to knock them out. The other reason is that you want to build the pot as large as possible for when you get a strong hand, since you have to work to cash in. For example, if you have A-J pre-flop, not only should you raise that as often as possible, but if you hit a jack on the flop, keep raising and re-raising.

Since limit hold ‘em limits the bets, the other thing you’ll find is that often times weak players will take a 2nd pair or A-K high to the river, or even the most unlikely of chases, not realizing how much that will cost them in the long run. You want as many chips in the pot as possible when you’re ahead, and the best way to do that in limit is to raise and re-raise.

One Response to “No Limit vs. Limit Hold ‘Em”

  1. Online Poker News Cast

    You might want to double check these articles when you post them! It becomes very difficult to read when you keep seeing the same symbols popping and breaking up the words.


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