All the limit hate...

So I have noticed that most of the posts on the limit section have a lot of hate for the betting structure. But in all honesty, if you cannot beat even the lowest limit games, you have a problem in your fundamentals.

First off, limit requires different skills than no limit. No limit does not require more skill, just a different set of skills. For me the primary skills you need in limit are: Hand selection/patience, Board reading, great people reading skills, a very solid understanding of the importance of position, and a very strong tilt control plan. (You will be drawn out on a lot, and need to understand this is not a bad thing.)

Now if you are playing limit in a place that has a rake, you need to play very selectively. Many hands that show only a small profit on average, or are break even borderline hands, lose money in rake games. So playing incredibly tight is necessary. You don't really have to worry about image, especially at the lower limits, because in general these players are loose fish who will call anyways.

So if you really want to beat the lower/mid limit fish, here are the hands you should play:

Early position: (You are in early position as long as you have 6 or more players waiting to act behind you. That means 10 handed, the first four seats after the BB are early position.)

AA, KK, QQ, AKs, AKo, and AQs.

That is it for early position.

Middle Position: (You are in middle position if you have 4-5 players left behind you)

JJ, 1010, AJs, A10s, KQs, AQo.

As you can see, playing profitably, you will only be playing 12 hands in the first 6 seats in 10 handed game. This accounts for only the top 5% most profitable hands. These standards seem far too tight, however if you follow these standards in EP and MP, you will see long term profit. If you cant follow the strict standards, honestly you probably shouldn't be trying to make money at poker.

Now in late position you can open up more of course, I have 3 levels of late position hands, which I use depending on how I am doing stack wise, but for now you get the level 1 (top 10% of hands total.)

99, KJs, KQo, K10s, A9s, AJo, 88, QJs, KJo.

That is it for the hand selection, and following these preflop guidlines, even if you play only the top 5%, you will do very well in limit. Again, you will be drawn out in limit, but because you are going in with stronger hands than your opponents, that is the only real way you can lose. So it is not a bad thing, that is where your profit is.

On a side note, one of the great things about limit is how big the pots generally get. You can argue that no limit has bigger pots. But in NL you have to have very weak players playing, or have someone in the pot with you to have your bets called. Limit, those pots will usually always be large. Everyone will be calling because the bets are fixed. So never say that the 1/2 no limit game is bigger than the 3/6 or 4/8. Obviously, that is wrong.

Now you have to know your opponents well in limit holdem. Generally they are in pots with messed up hands so know when you should fold. Like when a calling station leads out on the river when the boards pairs 2's, and you have a solid top pair, or bigger 2 pair, you should probably fold that hand, even if the pot is huge. You can save that one big bet knowing they are betting trips. Or when the flush hits, or straight cards fall. If you are not drawing to something bigger, fold. Learn your opponents, look for tells, and never give anything away to a lucky hand. That seems to be one of the biggest frustrations for most players is they always get drawn out on, yet they always call that last bet just to see it. You know they hit it, they are betting. So don't throw more money at the fish.

That last note also leads to board reading. Watch for draws, and if they come in, proceed with caution. It is just that simple.

Now in limit, exploit your position whenever you can. If you can see the weak players act first, of course it will be easier to see when that flush card helped them. This should be common knowledge, but sadly when a NL player switches over, they seem to forget the basics, and become fish themselves.

Now because you will be drawn out a lot in limit, you need to focus on tilt control. Always remember that if it wasnt for the draw outs, you wouldnt be making money. If they have to draw out to beat you, that is where the profit is. Just remember, they will keep playing that way, and you keep playing good poker. Eventually their luck will run out and you will take their stacks.

One thing I forgot is the need to value bet. DO NOT slow play in lower limit holdem. Bet whenever you have strength. They will call, and if you try to be sneaky not only will it not work out for you value wise, no one is paying attention to your deception because they dont care. you are just wasting money.

I personally love limit, if that wasnt obvious enough, and think that it is a much more profitable betting structure. Of course I dont expect many to read this, or if they do will say how much limit sucks, but say what you will. I wont get stacked in one hand when I get outdrawn, and my pots will always be consistently bigger.

Hope you enjoyed this little, big, post about profitable limit play. I know it is not very well done, but if you sift through it all there may be something of value. Or maybe all of this information was one big bluff.???


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