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Pot Limit & No Limit Poker : Play Poker

Pot-limit Poker v/s Limit poker

The meaning of pot-limit poker is just what it says, that is the size of the pot is the limit that you can bet upon. As the deal progresses, the pot size also grows due to which the betting limit after all the cards are out is greater than it was at the beginning of that deal.

In certain places, pot-limit poker is the only form of poker being played. This holds true for Britain and most of the other European countries. I remember talking to one of Britain’s best professional poker player, who was on his first trip to America. The player had no clue about how to play limit poker and asked me for tips on how to play this form of poker!

In America, most players always learn to play limit-poker before pot-limit poker. Since pot-limit poker play is more difficult this is obvious. When you decide whether to bet or not, and the amount of bet, the decisions become more meaningful, because the amount of bet or raise is much larger in proportion to the total amount in the pot. Hence, comparing the betting structures between limit poker and pot-limit poker will be helpful to many readers in their overall game-plan.

The prospective caller gets pot odds of anywhere between 4-1 and 20-1 on most bets at limit poker. Due to these attractive odds, you are a big favorite to get called when you bet or raise. A normal bet at pot-limit poker is between half the pot size and the full amount of the pot.

Generally, the opponent is offered pot odds between 2-1 (for a full-pot bet) and 3-1 (for a half-pot bet). This implies that at pot-limit poker, a bet or raise has a much better chances of winning immediately which has profound effects on the poker strategy.

Bluffing becomes more attractive when there is a good chance to win the pot with a bet or raise. A good pot-limit poker player should be willing to run bluffs and should be able to read the rival poker player’s mind. Hence, psychology plays a very important role at pot-limit poker which is more of a “people’s game”.

High premium is put on aggressive play at pot-limit poker. A pot can be won in two ways. Either, you show the best hand at the end, or win earlier by a bet or raise. The pots won without having the best hand often determine the difference between the winner and the losing poker player at pot-limit poker. You win more pots with moderate hands, and also get more action on good hands by reaching out with those bets and raises.

Pot-limit poker is different from limit poker in the use of deception. At pot-limit poker play, the good old poker virtues of subterfuge, trickery, and chicanery are more useful. You are continuously planning on how to win all the rival player’s chips. One of the plans is to falsely act weak at some point during the deal.

Sometimes playing hand that does not meet the usual requirements is also a good trick. When huge sum of money is involved, it is more reasonable to play a surprise holding to bushwhack the opponent later. Bluffing is also a form of deception. Most of the times, solid straightforward play is required at limit poker whereas at pot-limit poker tricking the rival poker player out of his money is the key. This is also more enjoyable.

Position is a major point of difference between the two forms of poker. It plays a far more important role at pot-limit poker than at limit poker. The decision becomes more meaningful when the amount at stake is proportional to the risk on each bet. Thus, getting and giving information for that decision correspondingly increases in value. It is uncomfortable acting first.

If you check, a bet by the rival poker player thus induced can easily knock you out of the pot. If the opponent doesn’t have a good hand and you bet, the rival poker player can become alert and get out. It is helpful when you act last with any hand, but is more useful with marginal hands because you can act on the basis of information gained from the rival poker player. The rule for deciding which hands to play are “solid in front, looser in the back” is same in case of pot-limit betting as with all other forms of poker.

Winning with a super-class hand at limit-play poker increases the amount you have won by several extra bets. However, one bet is only a fraction of the pot size. Just “one extra bet” at big-bet poker actually triples the size of the pot. So, a much greater prize is earned with a super-class hand. The relative value of starting hands is highly influenced by this difference in the amount of reward.

For example, at no-limit hold’em or pot-limit poker, pocket nines are a more desirable starting poker hand than they are at limit hold’em, and K-Q offsuit less desirable. Middle set is built by pocket nines, and K-Q set builds only top pair. However, middle set can easily double through the rival player, whereas if the top pair breaks someone, it has to be you. You aim at the other person’s entire stack in building hands at big bet poker.

Overall, there is much more emphasis on deception, position, aggressiveness, and psychology at pot-limit poker. Thus, the good poker player has more tools to work with. His advantage against weak poker players becomes greater. If sitting back and waiting for a good hand is your main poker skill, then you should stay with limit poker. However, if you have finer poker skills or are willing to work at acquiring them, then you can make your mark at pot-limit poker.



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