Enjoy No-Limit Hold’em but don’t like the crazy swings?
Fixed Limit Hold’em is a popular game for people who like the No-Limit Hold’em ruleset but want to avoid the stress of all-in decisions. It’s essentially No-Limit Hold’em but the betting is capped. You can’t just go all-in whenever you want.
Some players find the adjustment difficult — while on the face of it, the distinction seems reasonably minor, it has a massive impact on the game and probabilities throughout each round.
You should adjust your strategy when playing Limit poker of any kind to take account of these differences, which invariably shift the game to become more centrally about the cards you hold and the hands you can make. With these key differences in mind, here are a few strategies you need to adhere to, to get maximum value from your hands in Limit Hold’em.
Every Bet Is Important
Firstly, because there are betting limits in each round, every single bet you and others place is important to the overall pot. At the same time, you have the specter of limited betting information to deal with. Because the stakes are capped, one bad bet means you need two winning bets to profit — something that is much less of an issue in the No Limit environment, where one big win can offset all of your previous losses. This makes it all the more important to understand your game, and to know when to bet and when to fold.
Limit Hold’em is a game of much smaller margins, so it’s essential that you capitalize or conserve more strictly than might be the case in No-Limit games. There is less margin for error with each hand, and less scope for recovery when you slide behind.
Losing in Limit Hold’em is generally death by a thousand paper cuts. You don’t lose it all at once, instead it’s a series of bad bets that eventually catch up with you.
Calculate The Best Hand
In Limit games, you need to constantly have an idea of the best hands available. From this position, you can start to assess whether any of those hands are at the table — the more players left in the hand as it progresses, the higher the chances are that someone has the nuts or an equivalent strong hand. Understanding probability of draws in No-Limit is much less important, because you can make up ground on the betting side — but bluffing, muscling and other betting manipulations become significantly more difficult in Limit games, where strong hands are worth so much more.
Look at the flop and the cards in your hand. Think about the best possible hand (also known as the nuts), and the number of draws available that would contribute to that hand. By knowing how many possible hands could beat your own, versus the number of players remaining in a hand, you can start to make more reasoned assessments of your chances come showdown. Especially when you are looking to minimize bad bets, this is a crucially important skill.
Be Very Selective In Early Position
When you’re out of position, you want to be incredibly selective of the cards you play. This puts you at an inherent disadvantage to other players at the table, particularly in limit games where you are subject to capped betting and all that entails. You don’t want to be moving forward on a 9/6 hand - it’s almost always worth folding these from an early position, and waiting for the game to move round until you act.
Limit Texas Hold’em really is a discipline apart from its No Limit counterpart. Players who switch versions often find the differences much more pronounced than they would realize, and experienced Limit players can often find opportunities playing against players from the No Limits discipline. Success comes from being more selective in the plays you make and on each bet, so you can stack the much finer margins in your favor, while limiting your downside exposure to losing hands.
You Should Almost Always Call in the Big Blind
While you should be cautious when in early position in Limit Hold’em the opposite is true of being in the big blind.
Because you’re protected from all-in shoves and it’s rare to see a large number of re-raises pre-flop you can call with a wide range of hands from the big blind. That means you should consider calling with hands like K-2, J-8, Q-5 or any pair. There’s simply not much risk in calling and you could potentially win a huge pot if you manage to hit the flop hard.
Players with premium starting hands just won’t be able to push you off a marginal hands as easy as they do in NLHE.
Avoid Bluffing Too Much
While bluffing can be done in Limit Hold’em it’s generally not a good idea to utilize the strategy as frequently as players do in No-Limit Hold’em.
Without being able to truly put a player to the test — such as in No-Limit Hold’em — you’ll instead be limited to a capped bet. Plenty of players with medium hands are simply going to make the call if it’s only for a couple big blinds.
Of course every player knows that so there will be some good opportunities to bluff because everyone will automatically assume you have a made hand but you should still tone down your overall number of bluffs.
Bluffing too frequently is one of the only ways to quickly dust off a stack in Limit Hold’em.
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