Last week I was talking to a few online poker players who normally play nothing but NL Texas Hold em, who were trying out HORSE, which contains Limit Hold’em rather than the standard NL varient that they were used to. Both of these players were frustrated by a couple of aspects of Limit Hold em that are very different from NL.
One of the things that was frustrating these guys, as I think frustrates all players who are used to NL, is the simple fact that they are now playing a LIMIT poker game. Suddenly, you cannot raise large amounts to eliminate your opponent from trying to suck out. The threat of an All-in is no longer there.
That middle pair now becomes worth seeing the Turn and possibly the River because it only costs a nominal amount to call and see another card. Here is what I mean. You are in the Small Blind with J-7 and the blinds are $40-$20 in a Limit tournament, early on. The Flop comes J-5-2 after everyone has limped in. Are you worried about your kicker at this point, when a player in front of you bets $40?
If you are, you shouldn’t be.
It only costs you $40 to call and you are probably up against something like A-x so there is not much harm in seeing another card or 2. This hand would be scary in a No Limit game and you would not likely see the Turn or want to. But, here, you can find out if your J’s are good for a very small price.
As you can see, what is stupidly fishing in NL, becomes a pretty good bet in Limit Hold em. You have no threat of the other players raising you big time after the Turn, so you might as well see if your kicker holds. Or if your middle pair is good. Many players get way too excited about Big Slick in Limit Holdem. Sure, that is a great hand if you can intimidate after the Flop with the threat of a big raise or all-in, but in Limit, your holding of 9-6 off suit when your 9 pairs on the Flop may well be good. Your opponent cannot re-raise you a substantial amount if want to stay in the hand, so why not call his bluff.
This is a favorite play of mine when I am in a HORSE game against a player who I can tell mainly plays NL Hold’em. These players are easy to spot and they get way out ahead of their hands with an A-x pre-flop. You can punish them on the subsequent streets by just staying in the hand if you hit the Flop. Most of these players have a hard time giving it up. Remembering a few simple adjustments can make going from NL Hold’em to Limit, very profitable.
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