Limit Hold'em - the big bets

Poker Strategy RSS / Marcus Bateman / 08 June 2010 / Leave a Comment

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Limit Hold'em is a game won or lost over the big bets. For those of you unfamiliar with limit terminology, the term 'big bets' simply refers to those bets put in on the turn and river when the limit doubles.

Although pre flop and flop play are extremely important in limit games, the true divide between winning and losing players in the game is on winning extra - and losing fewer - big bets than their opponents.

Most of this focusses around on analysing the thin value of limit games closely. As you can only ever be re-raised a set amount in limit games, you can value bet much more thinly than you can in no limit games (where you can be re-raised heavily and forced off of weak hands). This has many implications, but primarily means that in order to win extra bets it is important to study player types closely and analyse its effect on value betting.

Calling stations in limit games can be value bet very thinly, where as overly aggressive opponents can be check raised/called with marginal hands frequently late in the hand. All good limit players are masters of river and turn check raising, as it allows you to squeeze extra big bets out of opponents by giving them very attractive odds, as well as inducing bets frequently through feigning weakness.

Thinking about how to save extra big bets when behind is just as important as trying to win extra ones when ahead, and keeping a close eye on a player's tendencies late in hands is crucial to saving the odd big bet. Some players are simply incapable of making a certain play at a certain time in poker without the goods. If you see a very predictable tight player river check raising you and a hand that only really beats a bluff, despite getting very good odds you should often be looking to fold.

Many players new to limit fail to understand just how much more tricky you have to be in trying to squeeze out value from hands. Unlike big bet games, where constant aggression, bravery, and psychology are required to win the money, limit is much more like a science, focussing on trying to assess the best possible way to win (or stop from losing) the odd extra big big bet. Make sure you think carefully about exactly what to do on the late streets in limit hands - the difference between winning and losing in the game is a very small margin in the long run.

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