Limit Holdem For No Limit PlayersArticle By: RuffPoker.com
Learning what makes limit different than no-limit is easy to understand, but can be difficult to master. Here's what you need to know.
If you've come to the world of poker in the last several years, you probably got your start by playing No-Limit Texas Hold 'em. This is the game that is everywhere; on TV, in the movies, in your best friend's weekly home game, etc. Everyone seems to be playing no limit, and for good reason. It's an exciting game.
But there is also limit Hold 'em. Identical to no-limit in almost every way, the game is none the less unique, and if you want to learn to play limit, you first have to accept that you will have to start all over again when it comes to strategy. Limit Hold 'em is a different game, and you can't do the same things in it that you would in no-limit.
Limit vs. No-Limit: To show you why limit is so different, let's first take a look at the main difference: the betting limits. In no-limit, you can bet as much as you want whenever you want. In limit, you can't. (It's called limit for a reason.)
For example, in a $3 - $6 limit game, the game starts with $1 and $3 blinds. In the first 2 rounds of betting, the most any player can bet is $3. In the final 2 rounds of betting, that limit goes up to $6. You are also limited to 4 bets per betting round. (1 bet and 3 raises, to be precise.) This means that if 1 person bets at the pot, and 3 people then raise, that is the most that can be bet on that round.
If you learn one thing about the difference between limit and no-limit, it's this: you cannot muscle people out of nearly as many pots in limit as you can in no-limit.
Let's say you're in early position and are dealt JJ. In a no-limit game, you might try to over bet the pot so you can steal the blinds or at least push enough people out to ensure you're only playing against strong hands.
The same hand in a limit game is vastly different. If you bet your JJ, all the rest of the players have to do is call your raise, which is usually not a problem. And since these players will generally play a wider range of starting hands, you won't be able to tell who is strong or who is weak just on the basis of their call. Not only that, but it's probably very likely that people are calling with drawing hands or ace-high hands, so nearly any flop will be dangerous.
Limit Strategy Tips:
Looser Play: In general, a limit player can afford to play a little loose that a no-limit player, especially during the first 2 betting rounds. It is relatively cheap to see the cards, and you are rarely in a position where a raise will cause you significant betting pressure. Limit hold 'em players like to see more flops than their no-limit counterparts because it is cheaper, and safer, to do so.
Starting Hands: Just like in no limit, you'll need to decide what kind of starting hands are worth playing. A tight player will stick with pairs above 7's, or suited connectors and KQ or above. Looser players who've built up some table rep can afford to loosen up a little, playing A-X suited, any pair or cards above Q-8, suited or not.
Betting Style: In general, you want to be able to play your hands around the concept that 4th street is your final stand. If you've hit your hand, but want to avoid someone sucking out, you need to force the action on 4th street. Since the bets are doubled here, you can exert more pressure and force drawing hands out before 5th street. If you can't, you'll have to decide whether or not it's worth going on.
Just like any other game, limit hold 'em requires you to learn new skills. Mastering the game is a matter of being aware of the numbers, controlling your play and being aware of slight differences in the actions of the other players. Limit offers players a chance to control their losses and maximize their gains, but it also has a down-side, especially for no-limit players. If you're a player who likes to use aggression to win pots, limit hold 'em may be an expensive game to learn.