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Poker Strategy: Basic Limit Holdem Tips

Posted at 20:11 2010-12-15

When playing mixed games, many people consider the Holdem rounds elementary. Many sit back and look for either good cards or good situations to try and take down some pots. However, many either have forgotten or just choose to ignore some very simple concepts that will help you take down more pots during Holdem. Here are a couple of basic concepts to remember while playing Limit Holdem.

Semi-bluffing Draws

One of the most elementary skills that you should develop in Holdem is semi-bluffing your drawing hands. For example, let's assume you start with {kh}{th} and are in late position with no raise in front, or you are in a pot laying you proper odds to call. You then see a flop that falls {Ah}{9h}{6c}. This flop is somewhat bad for you, but is a great flop for a semi-bluff.

First, you are about 38% to hit your hand. If by some chance nobody has an ace, you very well may win if a king or ten hits the board. However, for sake of argument, we are going to assume that someone has an ace. What do you do in this situation? If action is checked to you, bet out. If you are bet into, then put in a raise.

Some of you may ask, why not take a free card? Actually, the bet or raise is done to try and pick up a free card on the turn should you miss your flush. Let's say another club hits the turn. More times than not, your opponents will check to you unless they significantly improved their hand. You can then check to take a free card and it only cost you one small bet. If you check on the flop and the flush doesn't hit, then someone is likely going to bet out on the turn, and you will now have paid double to try and draw.

This is a very old school play and considered elementary, but you will be surprised how many times that people will check around on a flop and hope that they get checked to again on the turn.

Learn to be a Calling Station

This concept is tough for some tight "rock" players to understand, but in Limit Holdem, you are going to want to call down with your weaker hands, even if it seems long odds to win. Let's say you started with Q-10 in the big blind with the small blind and one limper calling along. The board ran out 10-J-2-4-6 and you called a bet on the flop and turn. The limper folded on the turn and the small blind bet out on the river once more.

You are looking at seven big bets in the pot. This is a pot you really need to call down with your pair of tens. There might be a good chance that your opponent had A-9 and failed to call, or maybe they have a small pair, such as sevens. In either event, it is only going to cost you one bet to find out to potentially win a pot of seven bets.

A lot of people get into a NL Holdem mindset and have a tough time calling down with second pair unless they have a stellar read on their opponent. In Limit Holdem, you need to pay more attention to the pot and whether making the call is correct via the odds. Most of the time it will be. You will be surprised how many times a second or third best hand will take a pot. Aggression is key in all forms of poker, but folding to someone just because they led out all the way is not always the correct decision.

Many old school Limit Holdem players will read this and say to themselves that I am not telling them anything new. However, the majority of players that start playing HORSE for the first time have seldom, and sometimes never played a hand of Limit Holdem. It is indeed a different beast and everyone has to start somewhere. Also, those of you that may have been playing NL for a while probably needed to be refreshed on some of the concepts that were as basic as breathing. Use these tools to pick up pots and grow your stack. Good luck to you at the tables.

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Learn the basics of Limit Holdem strategy Learn the basics of Limit Holdem strategy

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