Forget No-Limit Hold’Em! Learn The Secret to Dominating “Limit” Poker

Posted May 9, 2010 by Andrew in Tips

Do You Play Online Poker In The Evening? If So, Read This!There are many differences between limit and no-limit poker.  Many no-limit players have difficulty gearing down for limit play, and limit players lack the courage and feel needed for no-limit games..  Many of the high-powered strategies that are available to the aggressive no-limit player can’t be used to great advantage in limit.  Specifically bluffing and getting small pots are much more difficult when the game limits you to a maximum bet.

However, one thing remains constant between the two games.  That is the need for an aggressive style.  The nature of limit hold ‘em makes it necessary to keep a tighter rein on your aggressive play, but when you play a pot, play it strongly.

In limit poker, you should play big cards most of the time.  The straight forward nature of limit play means that most of the time you have to show down a hand.  You’ll make the best hands more often with big cards rather than with smaller ones like 2-4 suited.  This is mainly because there isn’t much money at stake in limit hands.  If a player doesn’t have to jeopardize many chips, he is most likely going to call anything you put out there.  If you don’t have a big hand, you risk losing even on suited connectors.

Poker great Doyle Brunson suggests that patience and self-discipline are essential to playing limit hold ‘em.  You need to know which hands to get into and which hands not to bother with.  He suggests you need to pay attention to what the other players are doing – even if you’re not in a hand.

Don’t get overly stressed about deciding what cards to play and what cards not to play.  You’re not going to lose your shirt in limit games by calling a raise with pocket 2’s and getting an A-K-K flop.  Just fold out gracefully and wait for the next hand.

Poker Pro Chris Ferguson offers up the following advice:

In multi-way pots (which are common in limit games), draws become especially powerful, and playing big draws aggressively against multiple opponents can create very profitable situations. For example, say that you’re dealt As-8s on the button. Three players limp before the action gets to you, and you decide to limp as well. Both blinds call, so a total of six players see the flop of 4s-7s-Jc. You have no hand at the moment, but you do have the nut flush draw.

On the flop, the small blind bets and three players call. What’s your best action? Clearly, folding would be wrong. With two cards to come and nine outs, you’ll make the nut flush roughly 35 percent of the time, making you only a 2:1 dog. With six small bets going in the pot pre-flop and four going in on the flop, you’re getting pot odds of 10:1.

You might be tempted to just call and see what the turn brings but, in fact, raising in this situation gives you better value. The pot is getting large and it’s likely that all your opponents are going to call. Even those who have nothing more than second pair or a gut shot straight draw may feel that their pot odds are favorable enough to justify calling the second bet. If your raise gets called by four people, you’ll be getting great value. You’d be getting 4:1 on your money when you’re only a 2:1 underdog – a clear win for you.

The raise might also work well for you on the turn and river. By acting after the flop, there’s a chance that the other players will check to you on the turn. This gives you the option of checking and taking a free card if you don’t make your flush.

The level of aggression that you show with a draw will largely depend on your position. To show how your play might change with position, imagine you’re in a hand with the same hole cards (As-8s), the same number of players (six), and the same flop (4s-7s-Jc). This time, however, you’re not on the button but are in the big blind instead when the small blind bets out. Here, you want to encourage the other players in the hand to put as much money in the pot as possible. If you raise, you’re probably going to force players with second pair or a gut shot to fold, so your best option is to call. Give your opponents every opportunity to throw money in the pot.

Finally, let’s look at how you might play the same cards when you’re the first to act. If you have a nut flush draw in the small blind and there are six players in the pot, go ahead and bet. It’s a favorable situation for you, so you want to make sure that some money goes in the pot. When out of position, I’ll usually follow-up my flop bet with another bet on the turn no matter what card hits. Then, if I miss again on the river, I can decide whether or not I want to bluff at the pot. If I’m against only one or two players on the river, I’ll usually bluff. If there are five players left in the hand, I won’t bother. It’s too likely that someone will call.

You can make a lot of money playing draws in low-limit Hold ’em.  Just remember that you want as many people contributing to the pot as is possible, which means that in different positions, you’ll need to do different things to get the most out of your draws.

When playing limit tables, abide by the general rules of no-limit hold ‘em.  Just remember to play tighter and possibly more aggressive than you would in a no-limit game.  The stakes aren’t as huge as they are in no-limit, so relax, play your cards, and rake in your chips!


About the Author

Andrew

Andrew Keyes is a poker enthusiast, a writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant. You can visit to get poker articles along with winning poker tips, tested poker strategies, the latest poker news, free poker tools, cool poker resources, and more! Visit today and you can download some of the best poker bots for automating your poker play!