I am a novice who is beginning to take poker seriously and invest a fair amount of time into improving. Limit holdem seems to be a less complicated game than holdem and seems like it may be easier to play until I get better. However, on the other hand I may end up developing habits and a play style that is suited for limit and will not transition well into no limit. Given that I ultimately want to be playing no limit as I find it more fun and more appealing in general, would it be bemeficial to work on limit and make the transition into NL when I am better? Or would I be better off focusing all my efforts into NL?

Note: Not sure if this is relevant but thus far I have been playing online micro stakes 6 ring nlhe cash games.

3 Answers 3


First, it really depends on who/where you're playing. If you're playing with at least pseudo-serious people, I think limit is the best way to start.

An often unappreciated skill in Hold'Em (and poker in general) is the ability to bet. If you read any reputable book on necessary poker skills it will always contain a section on proper betting. Knowing how much to bet is just as important (if not moreso) as knowing when to bet.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, limit Hold'Em can really help you identify and develop this ability. Being able to make a strong bet that's not a limit bet can say a lot. Additionally, playing limit will help you develop the patience that is required to play Hold'Em seriously. You won't be able to just go "All in" every hand, so you will learn to be meticulous with your hands and really employ and practice the other skills necessary, e.g. reading others bets, playing your position, calculating odds, etc.

I think the best reason, however, for you to start with limit Hold'Em, is you're mitigating your risk of losing a lot of money. Don't get me wrong, you can still lose a lot of money, but you're protected from calling someone's "all-in" with a board two-pair when you think your straight is going to hold up :P


Limit poker's decisions are usually derived from math and game theory and the play seems to be more straightforward than no limit which represents a harder to master version of poker where psychology plays a larger role.

Limit poker is more fun to play, as it justifies a lot more action than no limit. While a single mistake can cost you your whole stack in NL in limit it can only cost you a few bets.

Based on this, I think that a novice should select limit poker setting aside NL until he becomes more experienced.


An important thing that you have to take into account is that there is way more action in no limit than in limit. With action I mean that there are way more no limit games than limit games, and the swings in no limit are higher.

Since the average poker player improved a lot in recent years, I recommend playing no limit holdem or pot limit omaha. Those games may be harder to learn, but since you said you are going to invest a fair amount of time into improving, they might be the better games since they are played in casinos too and the mistakes your opponents make cost them more money then in limit holdem.

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