Limit and Low Limit Texas Hold'em poker is a completely different animal to the no limit game that you see played on television and at online poker sites around the world. This is not to say you don't see Limit games online; it's just that No Limit Texas Hold'em games are far more popular.
However, Limit Hold'em is an extremely rewarding game, and can also be exceptionally profitable if you know what you're doing. But you need to realise that, although it follows most of the same rules No Limit Hold'em, it's a very different game, and many of the strategies that you rely on at the No Limit tables simply don't work at a Limit game.
In this article, we'll be taking a look at how the game differs from traditional No Limit Hold'em, and what some of the best strategies are if you want to get the most out of this game.
It's betting, but not as we know it, Jim
In terms of rules and structures, there is in fact only one major difference between Limit and No Limit Hold'em poker. And it's right there in the title - the betting is limited.
There are still four rounds of betting in the game: before the Flop, after the Flop, after the Turn, and after the River. However, in Limit Hold'em, the maximum bet you make is capped at the blinds, for the first two rounds of betting. On the Turn and the River, the betting is capped at double the blinds.
So, for example, say that you're playing at a $50/$100 Limit Hold'em table. The most you will every be able to raise during the first two rounds of play is $100. Once the Turn card comes down, you can then raise by a maximum of $200, and the same on the River.
It's a system that prevents you from losing too much money, but it has a profound effect on the strategies you employ in the game.
Bluffing? Me? I think not.
When you play No Limit Hold'em you will often use the tactic of bluffing, either to hide your disappoint in the utterly awful flop that just came down, or (more likely) to intimidate them, forcing them to fold rather than confront your mighty hand - which is actually a rubbish hand.
This type of bluffing hardly ever works in Limit Hold'em. The reason why raising as a scare tactic falls flat on its face is because you can never make a big enough raise to convince anyone that it's a bad idea to call you. In Limit Hold'em, it is always affordable to call even if you have only the slimmest hope that your hand will triumph.
In this way, Limit Hold'em is slightly more a game of the nuts then No Limit Hold'em is.
Raise it up anyway
Now, just because the act of making a raise is no longer useful as a scare tactic, doesn't mean the act of making a raises no longer useful. In fact, the low betting limit is something of an annoyance to most of the players table - which is kind of ironic since no one is being forced to play there.
The only way to create big fat pots in a Limit Hold'em poker game is to raise from the get go, and hope that someone re-raises. Now, it is quite likely that in the first round of betting, you will find plenty of takers for a re-raise. Understand that in Limit Hold'em, the act of re-raising pre-flop does not imply you have a dynamite hand - it just means that you would like the pot to be bigger before anyone makes a decision.
Drag your heels
Raising pre-flop as a statement of strength can still work in a No Limit game, but it's all about the timing. As the blinds raise, so does the betting limit.
Now, in a typical online game, the blinds raise every 15 minutes. If you make a habit of always using all of the decision time that is available to you, you slow the game down, which decreases the number of hands that can be played at your table before the next blind raise.
Depending on how you play, this means you will still have a decent chip stack by the time that the blinds become formidably high, and here is where your scare tactic comes in. Raising pre-flop when the betting limit is high makes people think twice about following you in, and make possible to steal the blinds even in a Limit Hold'em game.