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I have some No Limit experience, but this hasn't stopped me from getting fleeced at Limit games, which I started playing out of curiosity.

What are the strategic adjustments that must be made to move from NL to Limit Hold'em?

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suited-connectors (0 gaps) are unfoldable on Limit –  ajax333221 Mar 16 '12 at 0:14

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

When you move to limit, math is going to be a much bigger part of your play.

You have to learn to correctly calculate pot odds and implied odds, since it is very different.

You can and should read whole books on the subject of limit play, because it is very different.

To summarize the MAJOR points that change.

  • Open ended straights on the flop on multi-way pots become much more favorable to call down to the river with.

  • Check raising a the turn can be a very profitable play and can help disguise your play.

  • Earning a single BB more or saving a single BB makes a HUGE difference over time.

Small mistakes have big consequences. Many times the correct play is only a few percentage points better on the positive EV.

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It is important to note that NLHE is a simple betting structure. You have blinds of different sizes and these things effect bankroll decisions, but they really do not effect anything else. Limits on betting add a level of complication to the game. With limit holdem there are limits to what you can bet, and these limits in relation to blinds dramatically effect game play in profound ways. To say limit is more about math, while true is wholly inadequate to describe the differences between the two games. The details about limit that do not have anything to do with NLHE could fill large books. It is more about putting the betting part of the game in a whole different paradigm. The other parts of the game that fall under tells, psychology are completely interchangeable. And while somewhat less intense they are just as important in limit as they are in NLHE.

IMHO, NLHE is more forgiving to a wider variety of player types then limit. You can wait for good starting hands in NLHE and do okay without being to creative. You can be very loose per-flop if you are a good player that knows what to do with a hand after the flop and beat NLHE. And you can vary up between these two examples, and other styles and depending on your skills beat the game of NLHE. What I am trying to say is that limping starting hands in NLHE just don't matter that much. You’re not going to go broke limping with 4-6 off suit in NLHE if you understand enough to know the right game and time to limp with a 4-6. it is not a bad play if the mix of players and the situation offers you enough upside to play 4-6.

In limit hold-em, there is never a game that offers an upside to playing 4-6 and there is only one style of play that is even close to optimal, that is tight and aggressive. Doyle in his Super Systems book said something to the effect ”that in NLHE it all happens on the flop”. In limit play what happens with the first two cards is much more important than it is in NLHE. What happens on the flop is just as important to your value, it is perhaps not quite as influential to the other players as it is in NL.

Limit poker also enjoys variants that NL poker does not. There is a lot of difference in the way you play 10/20 with structured betting and the way you play 5 to 20. This makes playing limit more diverse then NLHE.

These differences were at the root of a general debate about which required more skill limit are no limit. Perhaps look that up online, it will provide you a lot of insight, I suggest two plus two, or a RGP archive someplace. (I thought the debate kind of silly, the best limit player is going to beat the best no limit player at limit, and vise a versa)

Expert NLHE players need a somewhat smaller bankroll to gain the same win rate as expert limit players, but this is a very general statement, your NLHE bankroll has more variables that depend on the type of player that you are: loose and aggressive=much bigger bankroll. Of course it holds true for both limit and no limit players who are not expert players that they don't need bankrolls, they need jobs.

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The biggest mistake I see people make is NOT folding to tight players. And NOT saving a bet on the river just because the pot is so big. Fold the river if you know ur beat. It should be obvious after the Turn betting who is on a draw. If the flush or st8 card comes on the river and a tight player bets- Fold the to the 20$ bet even if the pot is 200$. Because saving bets is huge. Watch players closely and take breaks if you start calling A9 off under the gun.

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When Moving from NL Holdem to Limit Holdem you should notice the following:

  1. there is a limit sum of chips you can put in the middle, therefore more players will see the flop (In most places there is a maximum of 4 re-raises in a betting round ).

  2. In one hand this will improve your pot odds, but in the other hand increases the chance that one of the players will hit the flop.

  3. Its pretty cheap to call, so you should increase your playable hands portfolio (for example: low suited connectors, two cards of the same suit, two cards 9 and above, you choose...).

  4. Its very difficult to bluff or scary someone out because you cannot bet a large amount of chips. Players will stay to the river on draws, because its profitable for them.

  5. You must control the pot odds calculation.

  6. Just to remind you that on a 10$/20$ Limit game the pre-flop and post-flop betting rounds are in jumps of 10$ (up to 4 re-raises - 40$) and the post turn and post river betting rounds are in jump of 20$ (max 80$). You might consider calling up to the turn and then fold if you didn't hit.

  7. The most important thing you should take in consideration is that Limit game is much more risky and you can loose all your money much quicker than in no-limit game.

Amigal

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If you are getting "fleeced" in limit games after playing no limit, you are probably folding too many hands in limit, that you should be playing out.

The difference between no limit and limit is that the betting increases exponentially in no limit, and only linearly in limit. Because of that fact, hands also have to increase in value exponentially in no limit.

In no limit, if there is a five-fold raise, the raiser has something like the top one-fifth of all CALLING hands, maybe 3-5% of ALL hands. A second raise probably means AA and you should get out. That's not true in limit. The second raiser may not have AA, and even if s/he does, you might want to call with a small pair or a suited connecter if there are a lot of other callers, because if you hit your set, straight, or flush, you will collect more from the other callers than you lose from the raises. In no limit, there are fewer callers, which means you have to get out faster with a "drawing" hand.

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Actually in my experience, some unexperienced limit players don't fold enough. They keep calling although they are, for example, just "drawing" to an over pair. –  RoToRa Feb 14 '12 at 16:16
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"A second raise probably means AA and you should get out." This is not nearly as universally true as it used to be. –  John Dibling Feb 14 '12 at 16:36
    
@JohnDibling: What you said is true. But it is still MORE true in no limit than limit. The point I was trying to make is that no limit is still more dangerous, or conversely that it is less dangerous in limit. "It's all relativel." –  Tom Au Feb 14 '12 at 20:51
    
@RoToRa: That's true for some limit players. It's less likely to be true for no limit players, where staying too long can be extremely costly. –  Tom Au Feb 14 '12 at 21:53

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