If you have little experience in the game of poker, referring to this text after / during the game will help you reanalyze the concepts and strategies presented.
This article will provide you with a simplified analysis and offer you tips that are consequent to a certain style of play. Accordingly, there will be no in-depth discussions regarding exceptions and variations in the way we play.
Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em is the most popular version of poker in the world today. It is the favorite game in casinos, both real and virtual, as up to ten players can participate in each game.
In addition, weak players have a fair chance of winning in the short run and, in general, players are not eliminated too quickly and, before doing so, tend to pay the percentages reserved for the gambling house for quite a while.
However, Texas Hold’em With Limits can prove to be a tricky game for less skilled players. An erroneous belief that is widespread among players is that you can simply sit and see your hands whenever your pot odds are favorable, without paying close attention to your opponents.
In fact, this is how most Texas Hold’em Limited players behave at low limit tables ($ 2- $ 4 or $ 4- $ 8). Furthermore, intermediate level players are very often afflicted by a lack of discipline (play few hands) and a lack of reasoned aggression (decisive attack in suitable positions).
An overall style of play based on playing a few hands aggressively is probably the most advantageous, especially in intermediate level games with a strong character.
The purpose of this guide as such is to provide you with information on this style.
It will support the need to play a few starting hands while trying to win many pots and use the advantage provided by the position. Recommended strategies focus on the game prior to the “flop” and the “flop” since this is where most beginners / intermediate players make their main mistakes.
If you play correctly until the “turn” card is assigned, you will not face too many difficult decisions and you will soon become an expert player.
Fundamental skills to have in order to be successful as a Limited Hold Texas Hold’em player:
- Discipline at General level
- Interpretation of the Psychology of the Opponents
- Calculating Pot Odds
- Don’t have a tendency to play irrationally after a failure
- Gaming capital management
The Best Tips and Common Mistakes
The Best Tips for Playing Texas Hold’em With Limits
You only play very good starting hands: in a normal game you will not see more than 20-25% of the “flops”.
Choice of the table: be careful at tables where you play a few hands with an aggressive style (little gain, a lot of instability) and generally avoid strong players since they “will frame you and take your money away”. Look for games where many hands are played and where at least 30% of players on average see the “flop” and play their hands up to that point.
Make sure that the pot odds are in your favor when you draw cards: you only see a bet if the pot justifies the action of seeing (see “Pot Odds”).
Always analyze your relative strength in the hand: get in the habit of always predicting the cards of your opponents and be sure to take further account of how much more information emerges in subsequent rounds. You will never really succeed until you “put yourself in the shoes” of your opponents.
Try to remember the game styles of your opponents: the questions you should ask yourself are: With which hands do they raise? With which hands do they raise again? Do they still see even if they have weak cards? How do indoor couples play? How do their projects play? What kind of hands do they see / raise in the top positions? What kind of hands do they bet zero with and then raise?
Bet or raise when there are guarantees – don’t just see: the structure of Texas Hold’em With Limits favors hands to improve, whose holders could even point you. If you think you have the best hand, you should almost always bet / raise. You don’t want to grant to see any card for free.
Always have a good accompanying card: you must always have as your highest card a good fifth card of a two pair, or a card that accompanies the pair. (Cards of a weak accompaniments give rise to the second best hands which in the long run prove to be expensive).
Be quick to win the pots by bluffing when you are in a backward position: when there are few players in the game and around you have bet zero, there may be a possibility of winning the pot from the last position or in a backward position. Do this only if it appears that common face cards still do not benefit any player. Also make sure to evaluate the type of players left for the pot.
Change the way you play: you occasionally see “hands to raise” and bet / raise certain “hands to see”. Do it before and after the “flop” to prevent your playing style from becoming predictable.
Switch to the right time: switching to the right time will save you money. Do not draw cards when you know you have been beaten and the pot does not guarantee a seeing action.
Rarely Bluff: You must be pretty sure that your opponents don’t have strong hands and / or are very weak when trying to bluff.
The Most Common Mistakes in Texas Hold’em With Fixed Limit
- Playing too many starting hands.
- Seeing too much with deceitful hands (see Deceitful Hands).
- Do not fold when you have modest cards, such as a pair with the highest card on the table accompanied by a weak card or an average pair (in these cases, often passing or raising is the best game tactic).
- Don’t raise with beautiful cards allowing too many hands to improve on the “flop”.
- Try to draw cards that are likely to give you the second best hand. For example, the “flop” is 10-8-5 and you have Re-5 in your hand. If someone bets and some players, including you, see and then you make a king on the turn, this card could potentially give a higher two pair to someone who has a king-ten or king-8.
- Pay attention only to your game and not to that of your opponents. How many players made it to the “flop”? Did anyone raise before the “flop”? What kind of players are vying for the pot? These are all questions to be considered during the game.
- Do not play aggressively sufficiently on the “flop” (take the initiative) and on the “turn” (complete / protect the hand) (see Bet Zero-Raise).
- Always see up to the “river” without the correct “pot odds” (see “Pot Odds”).
- Seeing too much instead of raising when you have the best hand.
- A bad choice of table.
- Not having enough economic margin to play with a certain limit, thus wasting an excellent opportunity (to play optimally you must have about 300 times the value of the higher bet).
Game before the “Flop”
One of the most valuable skills to play in Texas Hold’em With Limits is the ability to be very selective about the hands you start playing with. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding which hands to play:
- Is it a table where few or many hands are played?
- How many players are seated at the table?
- How many players are vying for the pot when it’s your turn to play?
- Has the pot been raised? If so from which player and from which position?
- What is your position?
Game based on a few or many hands
A game based on a few hands is defined as a type of game in which few (2-3) average players see the “flop” and then pass after the “flop”. In this type of game you will rarely see the river card because everyone has passed.
There is almost no reason to play such games, even if you are an experienced player. If you decide to play in a game where few hands are played, your starting hand should be selected very well and you may be able to play 15% to 20% of your starting hands.
Instead, usually, the environment in which you want to find yourself is a game in which many hands are played. In a game where many hands are played, players reach the flop and tend to go too far with their hands.
In this type of games there is the possibility of playing multiple hands, although usually no more than 30% of them. However, you must continue to be very selective about which hands to play.
How many players are vying for the pot before you
If many people hit the flop there is a greater chance that you will play more hands that need to be improved, such as 7-6 of the same suit or small pocket pairs, as this type of hand increases in value with pots with many players.
In tables with fewer than ten seats with only six or less players, high cards increase in value. Even aces accompanied by a lower card of the Ten usually become payable.
In a full game, hands like Ace-Ten, King-Ten, Woman-Ten decrease in value as they can easily become an insidious hand, that is, become a second best hand (see Insidious Hands).
More players usually means bigger pots because, the more players play the pot, the more the “pot odds” grow. For example, with a hand like 7-6 of the same suit or small pocket pairs you can see before the “flop” if you think there will be six or more players competing for the pot. If there are only two or three players to play the pot, hands like 7-6 of the same suit or pairs of low cards are not good hands to compete for the pot. You want to make sure you get a good price on your hands for improvement.
If he raised
If someone raised before the flop, you must have a good hand to see or report excellent pot odds. You do not see raises in an intermediate position with hands like Ace-Jack of different suit and King-Woman of different suit (see Insidious Hands). However, if you are in a backward position and a minimum of four players have called the raise, you may either call or raise again with a hand like Jack-Ten of the same suit in the hope of making a big hand when the pot is large.
Positions are counted from the button. In a complete table with 9-10 players, you have the button, the small blind, the big blind, the forward position, the intermediate position and the backward position.
The three places after the big blind are called the forward position, the next three places in the intermediate position and the remaining two places are qualified as backward position. Reference is made to the first position after the big blind with the definition of “sitting under fire”, “under the gun”.
This is the worst position to take before the flop because you will be the first to play and you are very likely to make mistakes. This is because you will not have the same amount of information that players in the backward position will collect.
Therefore, you must be very careful in choosing your starting hand in this position. For example, immediately after the buianti, do not play Ace-Ten of different suits. Even if, if you have the same hand, you are positioned on the button and nobody has seen, Ace-Ten becomes a raise hand.
The best position to occupy is the one on the button, right in front of the small blind. It is in this position that you have most information when your turn comes. When you sit on the button you will know how many players are playing the pot, if there have been any raises / further raises, etc. This is certainly the most favorable position.
A very common mistake among beginners / intermediate players is to play any type of high card pair or any Ace in an advanced position and to see raises with the same kind of hand. This is one of the biggest mistakes a player can make since these hands very easily become tricky hands.
An insidious hand is any hand that has a high probability of becoming the second best hand, costing you a lot of money if you don’t put it. The most common tricky hands are Ace-Ten, Ace-Jack, King-Woman, King-Jack, King-Ten, Woman-Jack and Woman-Ten.
With this type of hands, many players call from an advanced position and see raises in an intermediate / backward position. Therefore if you see with King-Jack from an advanced position, and someone in a backward position raises his hand, you may find yourself trapped by common raise hands like King-Woman of different suit, Ace-King, Ace-Jack of different suit, Ace- Ace, King-King and Woman-Woman (in case an infantryman closes the point).
This will also apply when you see raises with this type of hand. This is a mistake. The most popular raise hands when in an advanced position include Ace-Ace, King-King, Woman-Woman, Jack-Jack, Ace-Woman and Ace-King. Why would you want to see a raise with an insidious hand when the one who raises is likely to hold one of the above hands?
However, in the right circumstances, insidious hands pay off. For example, if you are in the back position and you are the first to play, at this point, the insidious hand becomes a raising hand.
Generic Tips for Playing Before the “Flop”
Make sure to raise with the pairs formed with the highest card on the table (Ace-Ace-Jack-Jack) and with the high consecutive cards (Ace-King, Ace-Woman) to eliminate the low pairs and various types of consecutive cards and to configure the pot in case you get the point.
Have respect for players
- You who play few hands (for example, abandon Ace-Queen of different suit if a strong player raises by playing first after the button).
- Again, be selective with your starting hands. Resist the temptation to play too many hands because you lost some pots when you had an excellent starting hand.
- You don’t see a raise if you don’t have a very good hand, with which you can raise yourself.
- Never play an Ace accompanied by a card of less than Ten if it is not in the same suit. The only exception is you are in a backward position or on the button and nobody has seen. In these cases, you should generally raise with an Ace in your hand due to the possibility of winning in the blinds without a fight.
Starting Hands Guide (normal full table, 8 to 10 players)
- KJI – Raises when you are the first to play. If no one has seen or raised in front of you, you should raise. Do this to take the initiative in the hand and / or because of the possibility that you may “steal” the blinds.
- A – You should Raise regardless of what happened before you.
K1 – You should raise when there is only one player left for the pot or you are the first to play.
C – Regardless of how many players are competing for the pot you should see.
C1 – See only if at least one other player has seen before you. If no one has seen before you should pass.
C2 – You should see if there are at least two players who have already seen qualified to play the pot.
C3 – You should see if there are at least three players who have already seen qualified to play the pot.
KK – You should raise again.
Jack – You should pass.
LL – Refers to an Isolated Player who raises from a Backward position
What you need to consider when deciding whether to bet zero, bet, call or raise:
- How strong was the hand with which you came to the “flop” (read Specific Cards on the “Flop”)?
- Number of players (difficult to bluff with a 4-hand pot)?
- Did someone raise before the “flop” and, if so, who and from what position (a conclusion is expected)?
- What “pot odds” do you have (relationship between the size of the pot and the number of “outs” you have)?
- What kind of projects (if any) are there on the table?
- What kind of hands are other players likely to have?
- What position do you have (the more backward the better)?
Specific Cards on the “Flop”
Pair formed with the highest card on the table accompanied by an Ace:
- Most of the time you should prefer to bet on the “flop” (and continue on the “turn”), as there are often weaker players in play with weaker accompanying cards or worse hands.
- Be careful of pairs made up of cards higher than the flop especially with pots in which someone has raised.
- Avoid a strategy based on betting zero and seeing by betting, betting zero and raising, or by raising.
- To protect your hand from potential bets, be prepared to raise if someone bets.
Pair formed with the highest card on the table accompanied by a weak card
- If possible try to bet to find out if yours is a good hand.
- With a pot where no one raised, make an important bet and try to win the pot immediately. This is especially true if your pair is Ten or less, since almost every card on the turn will be a dangerous card.
- Generally speaking, if you get raised it is better that you fold.
- Consider how many opponents you have against in an effort to clarify the relative strength of your hand.
- Any colors straight or many cards drawn on the “flop” will weaken the cards in your hand.
- Did three high cards come out on the flop? In this case, there is likely to be a two pair and a pair formed with the highest card on the table accompanied by a better card than yours.
- Avoid a strategy based on betting zero and seeing or betting, betting zero and raising or raising.
Two pair (pair both cards face down)
- In general, do not apply “slow play” to this type of hands. If the opportunity arises, you should bet / raise.
- If the cards on the table have a lot of coordination (two or three cards of the same suit and / or two or three consecutive cards), you should raise the plans or have your opponents pay to try to eliminate you. One option is to wait until the “turn”, see if a useless card comes out and then raise / bet. This may work best with larger pots as bets are doubled on the turn and many players will see a raise on the flop when the stakes are small.
- If you made a two pair with a “weak” Ace, let Ace-King and Ace-Woman pay to chase. For example, if someone raised the pot, A-6-2 came out on the flop and you have Ace-6 in your hand, someone with Ace-King or Ace-Woman will bet you a lot and eventually will see you having only 3 “outs” for a better two pair.
- If you have a small double pair in your hand, watch out for Aces and Kings in later rounds as double pairs higher than yours will probably emerge.
A higher pocket pair than any card on the table (a higher pocket pair than the highest flop card)
- With this hand you bet or raise to eliminate your opponents and protect your hand.
- Occasionally with a hand so bet zero-raise if you think an opponent will bet and your raise will force the other to fold.
- If someone raises your bet, it is often best to raise again. Many players will raise at least once with the pair formed with the highest card on the table, but only by covering the bet with stronger cards in hand, so you can also get information on whether your hand is good or not.
The second pair (pair face down that is located between the high and intermediate cards of the “flop”)
- It is a typical hand in which you leave or bet. Often you can bet to make weak players / players who play many hands chase medium pairs or projects. Your bet can also cause reliable players to pass weak pairs formed with the highest card on the table or other unfinished hands.
- Usually leave if they have placed bets before you, especially if players after you still have to play.
- Again, always keep in mind the number of opponents competing for the pot and from what position they are betting (if they bet).
- Avoid applying a strategy based on the zero bet and see, tend to raise or fold if someone before you bet.
- You fold if your bet is raised.
Medium pair accompanied by a high card (Ace or, in some cases, a King)
- Typical hand in which you either pass or bet (see The Second Pair).
- If you follow a strategy based on playing a few hands, you should not be involved in too many hands of this type. There are not many situations where you are playing weak Aces or Kings (see The Guide on Starting Hands).
- With this hand you have 5 “outs” which can provide you with a two pair or three of a kind consisting of a hole card and two that are on the table. Consider seeing a bet on the “flop” if you have “pot odds” and if you think your hand will be the best if you hit the point.
Medium pair not accompanied by a high card
- Passing is the best move in most situations unless you are in a match.
- Again, avoid a strategy of betting zero and seeing. Instead you should bet, raise or fold.
You plan to make the best possible combination with 8 or more “outs” (best color suit, two cards of higher value than those that came out on the “flop” and the best flush draw, flush draws, best flush draws)
Rather than seeing, always consider putting your opponents under pressure by betting, raising or betting zero and then raising. Play aggressively, especially when you are facing only one or two opponents who can leave a decent hand.
With 12 possible “outs” (such as the best flush draw accompanied by an Ace, which provides you with 9 “outs” for the best possible card combination and 3 “outs” to make the pair with the card higher on the table), you will have a nearly 50% chance to close the point by combining “turn” and “river” (see “Pot Odds”); in most cases you should play aggressively to give your Ace a better chance of winning if you score.
The backward position provides an additional advantage as you can raise to configure the pot if many players are competing to win it. This could cause you to see a free card (see Special Moves) if you bet against zero on the “turn” and your hand has not improved.
Cards higher than those released on the “flop” – Ace-King, Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, King-Queen, King-Jack, Queen-Jack
- In most cases you pass these cards if there are several players on the flop and you have not closed the point.
- Do not take the (expensive!) Habit of betting with such a hand if there are figures and numerous opponents on the “flop”.
- Do not try to draw more cards than those that came out on the flop unless the pot gives excellent odds and the cards on the table seem favorable (there is no straight or flush option on the turn).
- Often, when you close the point on the turn with one of your cards higher than the flop, this card will give someone else a double pair or an even better combination. For example, if you have King-Queen and on the “flop” 10-8-4 come out, a King on the “turn” gives rise to King-Queen and the two pair King-8 and King-4. If a woman comes out, someone holding Fante-9 can make a straight or players holding Queen-Ten, Queen-8 and Queen-4 can make a two pair.
Very strong hands on the “flop” (three of a kind made from the two initial cards plus one found among the common ones, flush, straight and “full”)
The most common way to play in this situation is to apply slow play. This means that you will bet zero and see if anyone bets and raise / raise again at a later time when the bets are doubled. If there are many possible plans among the cards that are on the table that would allow someone to make a better hand, then you would need to raise and win as many bets as possible while still holding the best hand.
Here are some examples of situations where you should not apply “slow play” to a set of two starting cards and a community card, a straight, a flush or a “full” that occurred on the “flop”.
Very strong hand: Three of a kind consisting of two starting cards and a community (you have a pair face down)
- When there are flush draws on the flop, bet / raise to make your opponents pay to try to eliminate you.
- When there are any straight draws to the “flop” again bet / raise for the reason explained above.
- When high cards come up on the flop and raised before the flop, your opponents are likely to make many bets against you. And so you will get information on whether your set of two initial cards and one community is good or not, thus saving your bets for subsequent betting rounds.
Very strong hand: Straight
- When there are flush draws on the flop, bet / raise to have your opponents pay to try to eliminate you.
- When there are bigger scale projects on the flop, you should bet again / raise for the same reasons as above.
- When a pair occurs on the flop, someone with three of a kind consisting of two hole cards and one on the table will point you a lot against you, and if your hand is the best, you can make your opponent pay to eliminate you (it is possible make a “full”).
Very strong hand: Color (you have two cards of the same suit in your hand)
- When a pair occurs on the flop, someone with three of a kind consisting of two hole cards and one on the table will point you a lot against you, and if your hand is the best, you can make your opponent pay to eliminate you (it is possible make a “full”).
- If you don’t have the best possible color combination then someone who bets you will probably be drawing to make a higher flush and the bet will have no effect if a fourth card of the same suit occurs on the “turn” or “river”. Place your bets and raises right on the “flop”.
Very strong hand: “Full”
- When there is a pair among the cards on the table and you hold the low three of a kind made up of the two initial cards and a community. If someone has three of a kind consisting of a hidden card and two cards on the table he will point you a lot. By betting and raising on the “flop” you will make these players pay to make a bigger “full” by drawing from the deck.
- If you have one of the pair’s cards and the low card. Again someone with three of a kind consisting of a hidden card and two cards on the table will point you a lot against you and you will make these players pay to try to eliminate you.
Hands to improve (flush draws or bilateral flush draws at the top end)
- Try to do only projects where you need only one card to make flush or straight.
- Generally speaking, you shouldn’t draw from the deck to make a straight if there are two cards of the same suit on the table, unless you get some excellent pot odds. You shouldn’t consider two of your “outs” (the color cards), so instead of having 8 “outs” you have 6.
- Usually avoid trying to make a straight or flush if there is a pair on the table due to the potential risk of a full house. You will need better pot odds than normal to draw cards from the deck.
At the “Turn”
On the turn the bets doubled. Therefore it is essential that you have played your hand correctly up to this point. The stakes have gone up and you won’t have the same “pot odds” to see. Again you will have obtained further information on the hands of your opponents and you will therefore be in a position to reevaluate your hand. If you are firmly convinced that you hold the best hand, don’t be afraid to bet / raise to protect your hand. You will have a greater chance to raise projects on the “turn” as the bets have doubled. Don’t enter a raise competition if you don’t have a fantastic hand. If you are improving it, make sure you have the right pot odds when you do.
At the “River”
Now you are at the end of the hand and a commonly made mistake is to fold or to see with too many hands. If you do not carry out your project, it is advisable to pass, regardless of the size of the plate. However, if you have a mediocre hand and the pot is large, from time to time you may have to “see a hand that should not be seen because it is practically certain that it is lost, just to understand how it is lost” even though it is very likely that you are been beaten. Once again, you have to use your best discernment although sometimes on the “river”. there is a very minimal difference between passing and seeing. You will not bluff a lot in the end, unless you are in a match two and are extremely confident that your opponent is improving the hand and / or has a weak hand and you get a dreaded card. Be prepared to pass a good hand if a flush and / or straight card occurs and your opponents begin to raise.
When you are in the back position or the last to play, you can raise with a hand to improve on the “flop”. This will likely cause your opponents to bet zero on you on the turn, thus giving you the opportunity to bet zero (if your hand does not improve) or to bet (if you make your plan). This will save you money if you don’t improve your situation or it will bring you money if you get the point. However, this move will prove counterproductive when your bet is raised again on the “flop”. In these situations, it will cost you money, but it remains a good move since you got information and have a better hand plan.
When you have a good hand and it’s your turn to play, bet zero with the hope that an opponent will bet so that you can raise when your turn comes again. For example, you are in an early position and you have A ♥ Q ♠. The flop is Ace-Q ♥ 6 ♠. You bet zero, as well as three intermediate players. A backward player bets and then you raise. The reason to bet zero and raise is to make it too expensive to see hands to improve as a straight or flush draw. Betting zero and raising if you are in an advanced position also gives you the initiative in the hand. If the other players keep seeing, you will at least have obtained information about the strength of their hands and forced them to pay as much as possible to try to eliminate you.
The partial Bluff
A partial bluff occurs when you bet or raise with a hand that is probably not the best (at the moment) but you have many “outs” to eliminate your opponents if your bet is called or raised, although in reality you are hoping to win the dish immediately. For example, you are in a backward position and are holding J ♥ T ♥ and on the “flop” K ♠ 6 ♥ 2 ♥ comes out, giving you a straight draw with 9 “outs”. There are three other players vying for the pot and they all bet zero on you. You bet without having the best hand, but since all of them bet zero, they showed weakness and could leave the pairs covered, a pair of 6 or 2. Even if your bet, you have 9 “outs” to make the flush and maybe 6 more “outs” to win if you get a Jack or a Ten, for a total of 15 “outs”. If you see yourself and bet zero against you on the turn, you have the choice of seeing a free card if your hand doesn’t improve.
The Pot Odds
Pot odds are what you use to calculate if a certain game has a positive expected value. They define themselves as the relationship between the size of the pot and the bet. For example, if the pot is $ 100 and your bet is $ 10, the pot odds are 10 to 1. To calculate your pot odds, you need to know how many outs your hand has at any given time. For example, if you have a flush draw on the flop then you have 9 outs to make your hand. There are 13 hearts in total. You have 2 of them, 2 more came out on the flop, which leaves 9 hearts covered.
If you refer to the table below, you will notice that you have a 35% chance of making a hand with 9 “outs” by combining “turn” and “river”. This is a little better than once in three, which means that if it costs you $ 10 to win $ 30 or more, trying to improve to make the flush is the correct move.