No Limit and Limit poker are games with a very similar feel, but with a necessarily very different strategic approach. Where No Limit poker allows players to vary up their bets, allowing pots to run to an unlimited level on each hand, Limit players face much tighter restrictions on the amount they are allowed to be with a given hand. This means Limit players are competing in a much more fixed-odds environment, where pot odds and probability suddenly become even more important.
Players who perform well in No Limits can find the adjustment to Limit poker a little more difficult than they might expect, and the same is true in reverse. Much of the theory underlying No Limits betting goes out the window when you switch to Limits. But what lessons can No Limit players learn from masters of the Limit game?
Standardize Your Bets
Don’t give away information you don’t have to. Limit players have the in-built advantage over No Limit players of standardized bets, which means that their opponents have no way to gauge a medium to good hand from the nuts. When you’re playing No Limits, you really don’t want to telegraph your big hands — or else you send a signal to other savvy players to be wary of your hand.
Instead, it’s better to devise standard intervals to your betting, averaging out your raises and your bets to give a more standardized, consistent appearance. This will make you harder to read on your opponent’s side, which will help you win more generous pots than you would if you scare other players away.
Strive For Consistency
Limit players are looking at one big bet per hour, accepting variance, to increase their stack. They don’t set out to smash every single hand, or to win massive one-off pots. Instead, they strive for consistency in their approach, knowing that this plays the odds in their favour. You want to be taking consistent wins as you go through your game, and playing with a steady, even approach.
That means playing the hands you got, while striving for the optimum tight-aggressive pattern. Obviously there is room for flexibility in this, but over time players who adopt this tight-aggressive philosophy do tend to outperform their wilder, more volatile counterparts.
Small Gains Add Up
In Limit play, stealing even a blind here or there is a major advantage to your pot over time. Too often, No Limit players get sucked into chasing the big payout, paying out more than they should in the pursuit. Instead, better to take small, consistent gains on your weaker to medium hands where you can.
Limit players understand the importance of good cash flow in your game, a factor that is often overlooked in No Limits play where the next hand could make or break your game. But these small, consistent wins really do add up, and can help turn a marginal strategy into a profitable one over time.
Know Your Pot Odds
Limit players need to have a strong working knowledge of pot odds and maths to play effectively. These numbers are skewed by the Limits versus No Limits play, but the underlying principle remains the same. You need to be constantly thinking about equity, value and simply whether it’s worth your while continuing with a hand.
Will you get paid from your next move, or are you throwing good money after bad? Limit players need to inherently understand this because they can’t afford to take the same incremental losses along the way as No Limit players (who can benefit from the much larger upside). So know your pot odds, and know when it makes sense to play on and when it doesn’t.