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December 14, 2005

Thoughts on Limit Texas Holdem Poker

I thought I would write some thoughts about the differences I have witnessed playing Limit Texas Holdem Poker online. This is something different for me, as I have concentrated mainly on No Limit Texas Holdem Poker, in both my Online, and my offline play.

Normally, I play tournament texas holdem poker, in either sit-n-go formats, or in some sort of satellite event. I also belong to a private poker club that concentrates mainly on tournament style play, to prepare it's players for big events. In both of these formats, I generally play No Limit Texas Holdem, and have become accustomed to that style of play.

I have played limit texas holdem poker in casino's in the past. Mainly when the local casino's were just getting poker rooms started up, and they did not have, or allow, No Limit action. In most cases, Casinos offered stakes that were of the $2/$4 or $3/$6 betting on the low end, up to $10/$20 on the high end. Frankly, I thought playing limit poker in these places was terribly boring, Probably because my style of play is a bit tight.

To explain a bit further, Stakes of $2/$4 means that the Small Blind is $1 and the Big Blind is $2. Betting starts out at $2 max bet, with 3-4 raises allowed. After the turn, the maximum bet is increased to $4, again with 3-4 raises allowed.

A fellow player that I talk to frequently from my club, has been tracking his progress for his online limit texas holdem poker play. He plays a lot of hands, and usually plays 3 to 4 tables at a time at a certain limit blind stake. His results were interesting enought to get me thinking that it was something I should try to see if my results were any different. I went out and purchased Poker Tracker@ to keep track of my play, and set out playing in some small stakes limit games online. Usually I play two tables at a time, as it is easier for me to keep track of play that way.

The first thing that I noticed about Limit Texas HOldem Poker, is that MANY more players stay to see flops than in No Limit Texas Holdem. Not only that, but many more players stay in a hand much longer in limit play. It is highly unusual in No Limit TExas Holdem poker for more than two players to stay in a hand through the river, IF play even gets to the river. In Limit play, no only does play get to betting after the river, but it is not unusual for 3 or 4 players to be in the hand at that point.

I believe that this is true partially because the cost of seeing addional cards is not as prohibitive in limit play. In NO Limit Texas Holdem, to see the turn or the river, you must be willing to risk a substantial bet, usually 4 to 5 times the big blind, to see a card. In Limit Texas Holdem Poker, it is not uncommon for that same card to only cost you ONE big blind. Since the cost is so low, players are more apt to stay to attempt to catch those low percentage plays.

This style of 'river rat' play can be extremely frustrating for most good players. If you hit a hand on the flop, you can not get weaker players out of the hand in limit, due to the cost of play mentioned above. The same hand played in No Limit Texas Holdem would be so costly to continue for a weak hand, because of the amount of the bet, that it would be folded most of the time. This is part of playing online that you must adjust to, and if you do, it can be highly rewarding. Remember, odds are, that river rats will only hit their 'hopeful' hands a small percentage of the time!

Posted by fatbill at December 14, 2005 10:33 AM


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