Introduction to Limit Holdem
Limit Holdem is most commonly played as a cash game. In fact, it’s the most popular cash game played both live and online, so you can imagine that it’s a pretty standard form of poker to learn.
Limit Holdem Strategy
Although this game is similar to No Limit Holdem, Limit Holdem requires a completely different outlook and skill set to beat the game. No Limit Holdem players are often considered fish in limit games, because they don’t take the time to learn the differences. More hands go to a showdown and you have less control over the other players because of limited bet sizes.
Limit holdem involves a lot of controlled aggression. You have to sit back, wait for the right hand, and then raise your heart out. Squeeze as much as you can from your opponents when you have the best of it, and lose as little as possible when you’re behind.
Since you’re limited by the amount you can bet, it’s hard to bluff with the purpose of getting your opponent off a hand. Sometimes poker tactics like check raising work, but usually it’s best to play straight forward, since it won’t cost your opponent to much to call down if they’re suspicious. When you’re behind and you don’t have the odds to continue, your best bet is to just lay down your hand and wait for a better spot.
Pot odds are a very important in limit holdem when determining whether you should continue playing a draw when you’re behind. You have to consider the size of the pot, your odds of hitting the draw, and if any of your outs may be counterfeited (a card that will complete your draw, but also give your opponent a better hand).
Pre-flop – Limit Holdem Starting Hands:
Your starting hand selection should vary depending on the table, your position, and the action before you. Because there’s so many variables, no chart or guide can turn you into a winning player, but they can help get you on your way to playing winning poker. Here’s a general guide to the starting hands you should be playing in limit holdem.
In early position you have to play extra tight, because you don’t have the advantage of seeing how other players react before you. In a standard 9 handed game you should only be playing premium hand like AA – JJ, and AKs – AQ in early position.
In middle position you can begin playing more hands. In an unraised pot without any callers you can open with A10o, KJs, 88 and up. If there are limpers before you then you can raise or call with the above hands, depending on the situation, and play a few more hands like medium high suited connecters, because you have better pot odds. In a raised pot you should tighten up, but still protect your premium hands with a re-raise.
In late position you have the advantage of seeing how everyone acts before you, so you can play a much wider range of starting hands, like lower pairs, mid suited connectors, Ax suited, and mid to high suited gap connectors. Just like in middle position though, you have to adjust depending on how many players are in the pot and who has raised.
The blinds are the worst position because you have to put money in the pot with any two cards and you’re the first to act on the flop, turn, and river. You can’t avoid losing money in the blinds, so you just have to try to keep your losses to a minimum. You should still raise and re-raise your premium hands. Be careful getting involved with marginal hands though, because it’s easy to get out played or put in poor situations when you’re out of position.
Playing the Flop
You usually have enough information on the flop to get a good idea of where your hand stands and how you should continue. You know whether you missed the board completely, if you made a hand, or if you have odds to draw. You can also use the information you gained about your opponents hand pre-flop to put them on a range of possible hands. So take a step back to judge who your opponents are, and what types of hands they may have depending on how they played pre-flop.
In limit holdem, the flop is the last chance you use the small bet, so if you’re still unsure where your hand stands, this is the best time to figure out. So bet and raise to get an idea whether your opponent has a big or small hand, or if he’s on a draw.
If you have a draw you can choose to semi-bluff, simply call if you have the odds, or fold. A semi-bluff works best with just one other opponent, if you feel their hand is week. If there are a lot of players still in the hand, then you may want to simply call to keep them in, which would increase your draws pot odds. Just be careful to consider if any of your outs are counterfeited.
By now you should know exactly where you are in a hand. If you have a made hand that you feel is the best, it’s usually a good idea to just stay aggressive. There’s probably a decent amount in the pot right now, and you don’t want to give anyone the chance to see a free card.
Since the bets are doubled now, you put your opponents to the test by betting. You’ll find that a lot of the players who made it to the turn by calling the smaller bets with marginal hands, will be quick to fold if they haven’t improved.
If you’ve made it this far without making a hand, the turn is the best spot to bluff an opponent off of the pot. The best situation to bluff would be against a lone opponent, with a medium to small sized pot, and a few scare cards on the board.
Now every card is out and you can see all the possible hand combinations your opponents could have. You’ve either made it this far by bluffing, betting your best hand, calling with a marginal hand, or checking with a draw / bad hand.
If you still haven’t made a hand, then you have to decide whether to bluff or just give the pot up. If your opponents have been calling you down all the way to the river and it’s obvious they have a made hand, throwing in another bet is usually just throwing money away.
If you have a marginal hand and you’re still unsure where you’re at, it’s best to play passively and check/call. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you’re either going to get check-raised with a monster or called down with a better hand.
If you have the best hand and you know it, then you want to get the most value from it. Betting is usually the best option, because if your opponent has a marginal hand then they’re likely to either call you down or just check behind you if you check. If you know your opponent was on a draw and missed then you should check to give them a chance to bluff at the pot.
Limit Holdem Bankroll Size
The standard bankroll size for Limit Holdem players is 300 big bets. This is the perfect balance to help you outlast the swings and allow your wins to have an impact on your bankroll size. If you go below 200 big bets then you should drop down a limit and wait till you reach 300 big bets to move back up again.