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Limit Myths Part 1: Pocket Aces
Most No-Limit players have a raging hatred of anything Limit. This hatred is typically unfounded, based on half-truths, myths and misconceptions.
The funny part about these haters? Most of them have never actually played Limit. They might have sat for a session or two, but they've never spent the hours grinding the game, fine-tuning their strategy.
They don't understand the subtleties and nuances that have made Limit poker the cornerstone of the poker world since its inception.
Aces Always Lose in Limit
This is the No. 1 complaint from most haters, making it the No. 1 Limit myth. It's honestly tiring to hear players say "You can't protect your hand," "Aces are no good, you might as well just muck them," or "Aces are only good heads-up."
The first issue to address is the misconception that aces are only good if heads-up. Take a look at this chart:
This is with eight players in the pot holding better-than-random hands - in fact this selection has your opponents holding what is possibly the worst combination of hands for you to see.
You have no redraw if someone flops a set (and you have to dodge eight cards for that); you're up against two suited hands and cards with straight potential.
If you put A♦ A♥ up against nine random hands (all players going to the river no matter what), A♦ A♥ will win around 31% of the time (this number is calculated by PokerStove with a sample of over 1 million hands run).
You're getting 8-1 on your money while winning one out of three pots.
In other words: You play this hand three times, each time all hands going to the river, all putting in equal money. Each hand costs every player $100 from deal to showdown.
- You play three times ($100 X 3) you've invested a total of $300
- Each of those three times the pot is $1,000 ($100 x 10 players)
- You lose twice (Gross $0), and win once (Gross $1,000)
- $1,000 (Gross) - $300 (Investment) = $700 (Net Profit)
This equation was simplified for this example. 31% X 3 = 93%. This doesn't account for the missing 7%, or any of the hands folding. The example is purely to get across the message of how strong aces actually are in a multiway pot.
As the example suggests, aces may very well lose more frequently than they win in a Limit game. The more players in the pot, the less likely the aces are to hold up (for example, if you have A♦ A♥ against only three random hands, the chances of aces winning will be close to 64%).
What all the haters need to appreciate is the excessive odds you will be offered in a Limit game. You will lose more frequently, but you will make a lot of money in the process.
In No-Limit you can protect your A♦ A♥ to give it a much higher win/loss ratio, but the actual monetary value of the hand can go down. By protecting your A♦ A♥ in No-Limit, you're lowering the total pot odds, by removing almost exclusively the hands with the least chance of beating you.
Not only that, but when a player with a random hand beats your A♦ A♥ in No-Limit, they have the ability to take your whole stack. In Limit, the random hand you're losing to is unable to skew the odds enough to lower the value of pocket aces.
Because No-Limit is such a situation-specific game, there is no way to say that A♦ A♥ is more or less profitable than in a Limit game, but that's not the argument here.
To sum it up, and bust the myth wide open, pocket aces can and will make you good money in Limit poker, regardless of the number of opponents in the hand.
In part two we'll look at why it is actually possible to bluff in Limit, debunking once and for all the myth that "bluffing is impossible in Limit Hold'em."
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