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Poker articles - Limit vs No-limit poker

 

Limit vs No-limit poker

 
There are two ways of classifying poker games: by card dealing (stud, draw and community) and by betting types (fixed limit, pot-limit and no-limit). The most popular poker game in terms of card dealing is Texas Hold'em, a community poker game. As any other poker game, Texas Hold'em can be played with fixed limit, pot limit or no limit. This article will analyze the differences between Limit Hold'em and No-Limit Hold'em.
 
In Limit Hold'em the bet size is predefined in each betting round. Usually, the pre-flop and flop bets have the size of a big blind, while the bets on the turn and river are double. In a $2/$4 Limit Hold'em game the small blind is $1, the big blind is $2, bets on pre-flop and flop are $2 while the bets on the turn and the river are $4. In each round of betting a player can raise up to 3 times (only if someone else re-raises). A medium stack size for playing such game is $100.
 
As the name sais, No-Limit Hold'em has no limits on the bet size. This is why the No-Limit games are not described by the stakes as Limit games, but by the size of the blinds. This way, in a $2/$4 No-Limit Hold'em game the blinds are $2 (small blind) and $4 (big blind) and the bets are unlimited, but not below $4 (the value of the big blind). A medium stack size for this type of game is $400.
 
Choosing stakes, tables and buy-ins
 
In Limit games there is not a big deal when deciding how much money you take to a table. Your stack size compared to your opponents' really doesn't matter, since you can't put too much money on a single pot. The minimum buy-in at a Limit table is enough to be able to play for a while. The situation is completely different in No-Limit, where the size of your buy-in is very important. The way you play and the way your opponents play against you is influenced by the size of the stacks. In No-Limit your stack can be lost on a single hand, but it can also double very quick. This is why it is very important to keep many buy-ins available for no-limit games.
 
Let's say you have a $100 bankroll, and you have a winning target of $20-$30 in a poker session without risking more than $30. In Limit Hold'em you can easily take all your money at a table trying to reach a $130 stack. In case you're losing, you will sit out when your stack is around $70. This way you have to win only 30% of your stack, which should not take too much time if things go well. However, in No-Limit Hold'em you must take only $30 at the table with you, because sometimes it's impossible to stop when you would like to. In No-Limit, your whole stack is at risk, but can also be doubled quicker. Making 100% profit with $30 in a No-Limit game can sometimes be faster than making 30% with $100 in a Limit game.
 
Playing style
 
Maybe the biggest difference between Limit and No-Limit is the playing style. While in Limit games every hand counts in your grinding attempt, in No-Limit there is usually only one hand that really counts. Many No-Limit players develop their game waiting for a big hit with a strong hand, while in Limit games the purpose of the game is to win as many hands as possible.
 
Limit games favors the limpers and the chasers. It's pretty cheap to call and wait to see what card is coming next. In a No-Limit game the aggressive play is much more efficient, eliminating many of the limpers. Playing draws is recommended on Limit games and can pay off very well. Not the same thing goes for No-Limit, where very few draws will be able to see the river. It's easier to call a turn bet of two big blinds in a Limit game to see if your flush or OESD hits, than calling a pot sized bet on No-Limit.
 
The value of a hand also differs a lot between the two games, and so the way to play it. A top pair on the flop (KK) in a No-Limit game is a very good hand, where a strong bet can eliminate all the players. In a Limit game is very likely to get called by one or more players who are still waiting their aces to show up. Then your top K pair will turn into trash.
 
Psychological aspects
 
Psychologically talking, No-Limit games are much tougher than Limit ones. There are even poker pros who avoid playing No-Limit, because of the tension involved. Consider you hold an AQ suited on late position and someone places a big bet before you in a No-Limit game. What would you do? In a Limit game it's much simpler, because your opponent's bet has the size of a big blind, so you can easily call him or even re-raise him. Taking decisions in a No-Limit game can be very difficult in certain situations and requires a very good mental state. Losing your entire stack in a single hand can be very depressing, and this can happen from time to time if you play No-Limit.
 
If you prefer to stay on the safer side we recommend Limit Poker, but if you like heavy action and high-intensity games, than No-Limit is the game for you.
 
Author: Abscident
© Gambler Awards, 2008
 
 
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