Limit Texas Hold'em: Basic Strategy

Limit Texas Hold'em can prove deceptive to less skilled players. A false notion held by some players is that you can simply call down the hands whenever you have pot odds, without taking much notice of your opponents.

In fact, this is how a majority of Limit Texas Hold'em players act on low-limit tables ($2/$4 or $4/$8). In addition, intermediate players are very commonly afflicted with a lack of discipline (tightness) and a lack of applied aggression (strong attack in the appropriate spots).

In general, an overall tight-aggressive style of play is probably the most profitable, especially in intermediate/strong games. Below is some key advice for playing Limit Texas Hold'em.

Play only premium starting hands. In a regular game you should see no more than 20%-25% of the flops.

Table selection. Beware of tight-aggressive tables (low profit, high volatility) and avoid strong players overall as they will read you and take your money. Look for loose games where at least 30% of your opponents see the flop on average and play their hands too far.

Be sure to have pot odds when drawing. Only call a bet if the pot justifies the call (see Pot Odds or Pot Odds Calculator).

Always analyze your relative strength in the hand. Make a habit of always anticipating the holdings of your opponents and be sure to further evaluate as more information is revealed in later rounds. You will never be truly successful unless you get under the skin of your opponents.

Try to remember the playing styles of your opponents. Questions you should ask yourself include: What kind of hands do they raise with? What hands do they reraise with? Do they call all the way with weak holdings? How do they play pocket pairs? How do they play their draws? What kinds of hands do they call/raise with from early position? What type of hands do they check-raise with?

Bet or raise when warranted - don't just call. The structure of Limit Texas Hold'em invites drawing hands, which might even bet into you. If you believe you have the best hand you should almost always bet/raise. You do not want to give any free cards.

Always have a good kicker. You must have a good side card, or kicker, to your highest card. (Weak kickers create second-best hands, which prove expensive in the long run.)

Be quick to steal pots when you are in late position.
When few players are in the pot and it has been checked around to you, a possibility of taking the pot in last or late position might arise. Only do this if it looks as though the board did not benefit anyone. Also, be sure to consider the types of players left in the pot.

Vary your play. Occasionally limp on "raising hands" and bet/raise on some "calling hands." Do this both before and after the flop in order to avoid predictability in your playing style.

Fold in time. You will save money if you fold in time. Do not draw when you know you are beat and the pot does not warrant a call.

Bluff rarely. You must be quite sure that your opponents are not holding strong hands and/or are very weak when you attempt to bluff.

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