Limit Holdem – Dave Tarbet
Limit Hold’em has been slightly forgotten about in the last couple of years as all the televised tournaments seem to be No-Limit and that is what the new players coming into the game are learning.
You’ve probably all heard the saying that “No Limit Hold’em is the Cadillac of poker”, and while it is indeed a fine and skilful game, in this article I’d like to bring to light the finer points of Limit Hold’em which I believe is equally skilful.
In case you are not familiar with the rules of Limit Hold’em it differs from No Limit in that the amounts you can bet and raise are fixed on each betting round. For example, if you were playing a $10/$20 Limit game, bets and raises on the first two betting rounds would be in units of $10 and on the last two betting rounds in units of $20.
So if a player bet $10 on the flop the most you could raise is $10 and the next raise would be another $10 and so on up to a maximum of 3 or 4 raises depending on the poker room where you are playing.
So here we have the major difference between limit and no-limit play. In limit you cannot simply push your chips all-in which is why you will hear a lot of no-limit players complaining that they don’t like to play limit because they cannot protect their hand. Although this is true to an extent it doesn’t make limit poker a lesser game, in fact it can even be said that it might be more skilful.
“Limit poker is more skillful than no limit”. Let me explain. Suppose in a no-limit game you are dealt a pair of queens, raise before the flop and get two callers. No aces or kings appear on the flop, you bet about the size of the pot, your opponents fold and you win the hand right there.
If we look at the same situation in a limit game, say $10/$20, there will be $60 or $70 in the pot and you will only be able to bet $10 making it correct for your opponents to call if they have a drawing hand or even something like bottom pair.
Therefore the situation is often more complicated in limit play. You have to consider whether to bet on the flop or not, is it dangerous to give a free card? Should you try and check raise instead? How much is in the pot, what odds are my opponents getting, how can I extract the most bets out of my opponents when I have the winning hand and so on.
The turn and the river will also be seen much more often in limit play leading to more poker being played and more decisions being made. This is in contrast to no-limit where players are often all-in on the flop or even pre-flop.
So next time you play poker, why not check out the limit games instead of just heading straight for the No Limit section. I think you’ll like the game and the different challenges it brings.