No Limit Texas Hold'em is a very singular and unique game, requiring specific strategy to win massively. Well, let me rephrase that because it sounds like I'm saying that there's only one way to play Texas Hold'em Poker and that simply isn't true.
Everyone has their unique playing style, and the more you play No Limit Texas Hold'em, the more you'll start to develop your own signature methods of destroying the opposition. But having said that, it's a very different game from Limit Hold'em.
In this article, we'll be looking at how No Limit Hold'em differs from Limit Hold'em, and a few strategies you can employ to make the most of the game.
You're not in Kansas anymore
If you are used to playing Limit Hold'em, it's quite likely that you have slipped into a method of playing that works very well in that game. However, most strategies for playing Limit Hold'em do not apply in No Limit Hold'em - and in fact, if you try them out you will get smacked down very quickly.
A good example of what we are talking about is the fact that the only way to get the pot to decent size in Limit Hold'em is to raise the maximum with every action you take, and to reraise every opportunity. Most players understand this about Limit Hold'em, and tend to corporate, which creates daisy chains of raises that - at least initially - are to everyone's advantage.
However, this is not the case in No Limit Texas Hold'em. If you are the habit of raising on every single hand, and re-raising every time someone else raises, you are going to become broke very quickly. The limits of Limit Hold'em shield you from the behaviour of the maniacs who play No Limit Texas Hold'em.
When someone re-raises in No Limit Hold'em, they aren't playing along in order to increase the pot size. They're making the statement that they have the nuts, and unless you sure that either your hand is better than theirs or that they are bluffing, the last thing you should be doing is re-raising.
Next, bear in mind that most players tend not to bluff very much in Limit Hold'em because there simply isn't any point. Limit betting means you can never sufficiently terrify anyone into folding their hands - it's always cost-effective to call.
But in No Limit Hold'em, players bluff all the time. You need to look out for it and be aware of it, because they'll be trying to pull you into traps and trying to get you to fold when they're holding nothing. Play with caution, but assume the other person is lying.
I have a cunning plan
What strategies can you use, then? A popular one is an aggressive form of play called Stack Bullying, which is particularly effective when you have a huge pile of chips – or at least a larger pile than anyone else.
When you have decided that you want to take the pot, you shove all in, regardless of what's in your hand. This is incredibly risky move, mind you, but what it does is makes your opponent re-evaluate the potency of their own hand. If they call you and they are wrong, they lose everything they have.
Faced with this situation, many players would rather fold. Stack Bullying is a strategy that works most effectively in tournament situations where players would rather maintain their longevity in the game than risking all-out confrontation.
Bluffing, as mentioned above, is an extremely effective tactic in No Limit Hold'em, but there is an art to it. Do not assume that by shoving your entire chip stack in on the river card, having only checked at every previous stage, is going to convince anyone that you are actually a threat.
If you're going to bluff, you need to set the stage in order to sell the lie. That means starting to raise your betting from the flop, giving an early impression that you might be holding something that you're not.
Try not to be too clever with it - online poker is littered with rank amateurs. A beginner who does not understand the game properly will not fall for a bluff because they do not perceive the so called peril that you're projecting at them.