Texas hold'em is easily the most popular poker game played in card rooms in the United States. Hold'em comes in four betting structures: limit, no-limit, pot-limit and spread-limit. Limit hold'em is the most popular ring game structure found in live cardrooms, and is about equal in popularity to no-limit hold 'em online.
The limit structure imposes exact bet sizes for each of the four betting rounds in Hold 'em. The most common form of limit hold 'em is a two-tiered betting structure, usually expressed as two amounts with a slash between them (e.g. 2/4 or 5/10). This means that the game uses the smaller of the two amounts as the betting level for the preflop betting round and the flop betting round, and the second of the two amounts as the limit for the turn and the river betting rounds. For instance, at a 5/10 limit hold'em game, the bet size is $5 preflop and after the flop. On the turn and river, the bet size doubles to $10.
Limits with amounts less than 1/2 (e.g. 0.10/0.20 limit, or 0.05/0.10) are called micro-limits. Limits from 1/2 up to about 6/12 are called low-limit games. Limits from 6/12 through about 40/80 are called mid-limit games. Limits above 40/80 are usually called high-limit games.
How limit differs from other betting structures
Besides the mere mechanics of the betting due to the different betting structure, Limit Hold 'Em simply plays as almost a completely different game than, say, no-limit hold 'em. This is due to two factors: the first is that limit hold 'em, being more common in physical cardrooms around the United States, attracts many more inexperienced and (frankly) bad players, which alters the play and feel of the game. But even with good players, Limit plays notably different due to one important fact:
Limit Hold 'Em is a game of draws. It is incredibly important to keep this in mind, both in terms of when you have a draw, and when you don't but your opponents do. Because a player is extremely limited in the amount of money they can bet in any betting round, players are frequently getting the correct, or nearly-correct, pot odds to call on any number of draws. That's why power hands like pocket aces are not nearly as powerful in Limit as they are in No-limit. They're still excellent hands worthy of raising, but as the hand nears the showdown, it is wise to be cautious in betting if the aces remain unimproved if you have more than 3 or 4 opponents left in the field. The odds of one of your opponents hitting two pair or better are collectively quite significant, even if each individual competitor only has about a 10% chance of doing so.
Likewise, in Limit it is always wise to calculate your pot odds and (possibly more importantly) your implied odds, since in Limit it is often to your advantage to call one bet on the flop to see the turn. Keep in mind that bet sizes double on the turn (so there will be more money in the pot if you get one of your outs on the turn), as well.
Remembering that Limit is by its very nature a game of draws, will help you keep an emotional even keel when your top pair, or overpair, gets beaten by a seemingly random garbage hand that hit two pair. Your chance at the brass ring will come, and you'll do the exact same thing to someone else at the table in due time when you get in on the big blind for half-price. It's just the nature of the game.
Adjusting your game for low-limit
If you normally play either high-limit or no-limit hold 'em, you may find low-limit hold 'em somewhat bewildering at first, since you must play a wider variety of hands to make money. See the articles on low-limit adjustments and MicroLimitLibrary for more information.
|PokerWiki's guide to playing limit hold 'em|
|Preflop | Flop | Turn | River|
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