Limit Hold'em rules and strategy
Texas Hold'em may seem more complicated than it really is. But this is a simple and logical game, the study of which will take a little time. However, it will take much longer to master it.
Texas Hold'em is a card game, which focuses on bets and cards played. Depending on how trading occurs at the table, there are several types of hold'em.
There are 4 types of Texas Hold'em:
- No-Limit Texas Hold'em
- Limit Texas Hold'em
- Pot-Limit Texas Hold'em
- Mixed Texas Hold'em
This article provides all the necessary information for playing limit hold'em. But, before you start learning the rules, you need to pay attention to the poker terminology that you are likely to encounter. You can familiarize with the meanings of the terms, as well as with the combinations on our website.
Let's get started. The goal of the game is to win a pot and get as many chips as possible.
The game structure can be divided into 3 main categories:
- Run-up to the game.
- Betting round.
Let's consider the preparation stage first. From 2 to 10 players can take part in the game. When the number of participants is determined, the first thing we need is chips. The next is «button», a mark indicating the player who will be the dealer in the current hand. At the end of each hand, the button is passed clockwise and the new dealer is assigned. The small blind (SB) and the big blind (BB) are to the left of the button.
In limit games, the BB is the same as the small bet, and the SB is usually half of the big blind size, depending on the limits.
For example, at $2/$4 limits, the small blind is equal to $1, and the big blind is $2. At limits of $15 / $30, the SB is $10, and the BB equals to $15. Depending on the game structure, each player may also be required to pay ante.
Then every player receives 2 cards face down, and the betting round begins. It starts from the participant on the UTG position and goes in a clockwise order. This stage is called preflop. Next, the players must take decisions, and they have the following options:
Each move depends on the action of previous players. If bets haven’t been made yet, then the participant can check or bet, and if the bet is made, then the rest players are able to fold, call or raise.
Bets in Limit Holdem have a set structured value. On the preflop and flop, all bets and raises are of the same size as the BB. On the turn and river, the size of all bets and raises doubles. In the limit hold'em, a player can make bets up to 4 times during each betting round. These include:
- Cap (the last raise)
Now that players have seen their cards, they can start playing hands by calling or raising the BB. As mentioned above, the action goes clockwise and starts to the left of the big blind, who is able to fold, call or raise. Let’s say that the BB was $2, then the call would also cost $2, and to raise, you would need to pay at least $4.
Let’s now turn to the flop. At this stage, the dealer lays out 3 community cards face up. On the flop, bets start clockwise from the button. The betting options are the same as on the preflop, but if no one had made bets initially, then you can check and pass the move to another player.
When the betting round on the flop is completed, then the turn comes. At this stage, the dealer puts the 4th card on the board, and the next round of trading starts.
At the end of the betting round, the last street begins – it’s called river. The rules for betting on the river are the same as on the flop and turn.
The showdown completes the game. This is the final stage, which determines the winner, a player who collects the strongest combination.
You can win the pot if you have the strongest hand, or if you make all your opponents fold before the showdown. You need to know some showdown-related rules:
- The player who bets on the river is the first player to show his hand by default.
- If no one bets on the river (all participants checked), then the player closest to the left of the dealer should be the first to show his hand, and this process goes on in clockwise order.
- If the player has a losing combination, then he/she can either show his/her hand, or just not to turn the cards and give up fighting for the pot.
Limit Texas Holdem Strategy
Many newbies do not see the dissimilarities between playing limit and no limit texas hold'em. Most poker players apply the same strategy, irrespective of the type of game played, which is wrong, very wrong.
These two games are of different betting structures, which significantly affects the way of playing. Thus, you should take into account the following aspects of the limit holdem strategy:
- Importance of position
In no limit poker, your position at the table plays a big part in your strategy. Moreover, it is important to consider both your position relative to the blinds as well as relative to other opponents.
As far as limit hold'em is concerned, the position is less significant here. It is easier and more profitable to make decisions after opponents. But, the size of raises is limited, so pot control is also less important. Besides, it becomes more difficult to gain fold equity, as opponents often call a few streets with a middle pair.
- Starting hands
The inability to go all-in or bet more than the set amount reflects on the 2 4 limit holdem strategy. A fixed limit opens up the possibility of playing a wider range of hole cards; since small bets give better pot odds, opponents often call medium hands all three streets.
At early rounds of betting, hand strength is more important than the chance to hit the nut combination on the turn or river. For example, holding weak suited connectors, we will rarely get more than two bets from our opponents when we hit our flush, but, when we hit a pair, we will often lose.
- Playing style
It is beneficial to stick to a tight-aggressive playing style, that is, enter the hand with good starters by raising. The optimal range of starting hands in limit hold'em is 20%-25%.
With regard to limit poker strategy, raising and reraising are really profitable decisions with strong hands. To build up the pot, all promising cards should be played by raising.
On the flop, a continuation bet should be made about 85%-95% of the time. And if you are out of position, it makes sense to check/raise strong hands and good drawing hands. In position, it's usually best to hold off raising until the turn where big bets are usually made. In limit hold'em, players fold on the flop less often, and, therefore, the turn c-bet is made more often.
- Drawing hands
It is profitable to play promising draws. Therefore, a poker player will have to take risks more often in order to complete them. But, the limited structure of betting usually gives lucrative pot odds.
Since drawing hands are really profitable to play, it's harder to defend strong hands. With a straight or flush draw, your rival will almost always prefer to see the next card.
- Value betting
Fixed limit holdem strategy also has different requirements when it comes to value betting. On many boards, it makes sense to bet for value with ace high on the turn and even river. The deceptive low price of calls invites opponents to pay you off with weaker aces and overcards.
An essential part of any form of poker is bluffing. However, bluffing in limit hold em strategy doesn’t play an important role because it’s not as effective as in NLH, especially at micro stakes. In limit holdem, players should pay more attention to investing the correct amount of money into a pot according to their odds of winning the pot with the cards they are dealt than to bluffing.
It is less likely that an opponent will fold a hand of any value since the bets are limited here and it is very difficult to "frighten" the opponent. Trying to make your opponent fold is also risky because they will usually call you down to the river and if the opponent hits a pair or has a stronger hand than you expected, they will hardly fold the cards.
Therefore, don't bluff too much and choose the right spots for pulling a bluff off successfully. Try to get your rival to fold a hand they should call you with but which is still worse than yours. Such bluffs prevent opponents from making correct folds when we have the nuts. As a result, value hands are paid off better.
Limit Texas Hold'em is in demand nowadays, but the game is no as popular as earlier. The discipline is most often advised to novice players so that they can familiarize themselves better with the game of poker. And it is because, in limit hold'em, you cannot immediately lose everything that you have taken with you to the table. But, be careful, as limit hold em strategies differ from those in no limit holdem, as the bets are limited and your position at the table doesn’t play such an important role as in NLH.
In general, the game is great but due to the inability to change the pot odds, all marginal hands get increased chances of a profitable play