Low Limit Strategy

by Greg Cavouras

As a beginner to Texas Hold’em, the easiest way to start is by playing some low limit online games. This can be a great way to build up experience and learn the ropes of the game, so I’d like to discuss some very basic strategy for new players in low limit Texas Hold’em.

The first thing you need to think about is the stakes and medium you are playing. It’s likely you will be starting at a very low limit table, and most people start off playing online so let’s focus on that as a starting point. First you must recognize that low-limit online games are devoid some of the excitement and drama that we regularly see on WPT events. A good basic rule of thumb in low limit games is to play tighter than not; with a multi-handed table, if you continuously play draws and call with a questionable hand, it’s likely you’ll be hitting the “rebuy” button sooner than later! Playing tight has little downside in a low limit game, because the blinds are not going to force you out of the game. The other thing to consider in a low limit multiplayer table is the simple numbers; if there are 6 players at the table, it’s very likely that at least one of them has a genuinely decent hand. In other words, if you’re calling or betting with a marginal hand, the odds are against you that all the remaining players have worse cards than your marginal hand.

Another thing to keep in mind in low limit games is that you will very rarely be successful when bluffing. Low limit online games take away a lot of the mental warfare in Poker, so what that does is put more emphasis on cold numbers and calculation. This relates to the above paragraph about playing “tight”; when the numbers take on an increased meaning, you need to objectively assess the strength of your hand. The most you can bluff at the pot is the upper limit of the game; this is rarely going to be an intimidating bet to an opponent that holds a hand of any strength at all, because the stakes involved generally justify the call if they have any kind of hand. It also may be worth it for an opponent to call your raise with a questionable hand just to get a read on you.

The most important thing to work on in low limit games is your fundamentals. Get those down pat and then as your skill inventory accumulates, try playing more experienced opponents in higher limit games.

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