This year, the tournament awarded $7,430,000 in prize money, including $1.5 million for first place, and it paid 180 players deep!
While there are similarities between Limit Hold’em and No Limit Hold’em, you have to realize that they are not the same game. Here are a few tips and guidelines to help you hone your Limit play. Keep in mind that these recommendations are situational and depend on a variety of factors including your position, your chip count, the chips your opponents have, the size of the blinds and the individual playing styles of those players at your table.
While I usually believe in limiting the hands you play in the beginning of any game to those that are pretty strong, the ‘trap hands’ such as A-Q, A-J, A-T, K-Q, K-J, Q-J are much less dangerous in Limit, because if you hit top pair, it’s not going to cost you your whole stack if you are out-kicked. However, you don’t want to over-play such hands, and other marginal hands, because you’ll need to keep your chips longer in a game that’s more about attrition than sudden changes.
In No Limit, you may be better off throwing marginal hands like A-10 and A-J away, as it can be too dangerous to play them. If you get called and you hit top pair, you may be faced with a decision that risks a lot more of your chips. While these hands are also marginal in Limit Hold’em, they can be played and played more strongly. Generally, if you have a hand good enough to play, and somebody raises in front of you, you should go ahead and re-raise.
It’s a much riskier play to re-raise in No Limit, because you will be raising more than just one unit, but you should generally reraise enough to commit your opponent to a much larger amount of chips. In Limit Hold’em, it’s worth that extra bet to take control of the betting, but in No Limit, you should probably just call for several reasons: If your opponent does have you beat, he or
she can’t re-raise you and blow you out of the pot. Also, you have position and you get to see what he or she does on the flop.
In No Limit, position is more valuable, because each bet is more significant and the decisions will be bigger decisions, since the amount of chips you can lose or make is much larger. However, some marginal hands are actually better hands in No Limit. The small and medium pairs are more playable, because, when you hit three of a kind, you can win a lot more chips than you would in Limit.
In both games, you can play more hands in late position. Hands like suited connectors are often worth a call in multi-way pots. However, in Limit Hold’em, if you flop a flush or a straight draw, you will usually be getting the right pot odds to go all the way to the river. But in No Limit, if you flop a draw and your opponent makes a pot size bet, you will often have to fold unless you think you are getting the right implied odds. In other words, if you make your hand, will your opponent call a big enough bet to make the draw worth chasing? While drawing hands can make you a lot more chips when they hit in No Limit, it’s often not worth chasing them.
If you’re sitting on a big pile of chips, you can be a bit more aggressive in either game. But in No Limit, you should be more careful after a flop if you have a marginal hand, because you’re risking so much more. In Limit, if no one has come into the pot and you find a hand such as K-J in late position, then you’re probably going to raise the blinds, and if you make a pair, then you’re probably going to bet or call all the way to the river. In the same situation in No Limit,
you’d think twice, because if you’re not careful, it’s a hand that can wind up costing you a large portion of your chips. The second best hand in No Limit will cost considerably more than second best in Limit. You just have to play more cautiously when there’s more at stake.
In early position, or with only one other player in the hand, suited connectors go way down in value in Limit, because even if you hit a straight or flush draw, you often won’t be getting the right odds to draw. And even if you hit your hand, you will usually not win too much, since you cannot make a big bet or raise. However, in No Limit, hands such as suited connectors can pay off big, even heads-up, should you hit a lucky flop and the chip stacks are reasonably deep. I would much rather call a small raise with suited connectors when facing only one opponent
here, simply because the implied odds are much greater than they are in Limit.
There are more decisions to make in No Limit Hold’em than there are in Limit. In Limit, when first to act, you either have to decide to check or bet. When last to act, your only decision, if an opponent has bet, is to raise or fold, or, if it is checked to you, to bet or check. However, in No Limit, you must also decide how much to bet or raise, or how much you will call. While calling too often is a mistake in either game, it is a much more costly mistake in No Limit Hold’em.
Limit Hold’em may not seem as exciting as No Limit, but for those of you who are new to poker, it may be a better place to learn the ropes and get your feet wet. The trade off in Limit Hold’em is that you can experience a lot of action over a longer period of time, but you won’t get the emotional highs and lows that you do with No Limit. Some people think it’s poker for the risk averse, but a good Limit player will certainly get the same thrill at winning the final pot as a No Limit player.