Learning limit poker is key to no-limit

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New players, having only seen the riches won at no-limit hold’em on TV, want to play those games online and live immediately.

However, players who start by playing limit poker, which is found in only a few markets, establish a solid-aggressive winning foundation and often become the most successful no-limit players.

They learn the basics of patience, discipline, skill and experience, which in turn lead to having better math skills, a useful tool to command. Once those skills are locked in, it then boils down to starting hands, position, bet-sizing and hand-reading.

The biggest difference is most obvious: In limit poker, the betting structure is fixed; in no-limit, players can bet any amount.

Perfecting the art of bet selection can be more than enough to make you a consistent winner in this format.

Mix in some advanced skills, such as dealing with position and stealing, and you will take that bankroll to new levels in short order.

Caution: You’ll need a bigger bankroll to start in no-limit than limit, to compensate for the anticipated swings.

To play no-limit, you have to have a different mind-set. It’s not about winning lots of small pots; it’s about winning one or two larger pots per hour, looking to stack opponents. Your ability to finesse opponents, drawing them into situations where you can maximize profits in a hand, or your ability to apply the right amount of pressure, is essential to becoming a successful player.

This is created by making a correct-sized bet and will enable you to increase your bankroll and enjoy this format. In essence, the mistakes made in no-limit are magnified greatly. It’s your responsibility to eliminate mistakes from your game and capitalize on the many mistakes made by opponents.

The most typical mistake made by players in a no-limit game is the amount of wager they make into a pot. Generally speaking, the bet they make is too small, providing better odds and more opponents the opportunity to play and beat or bluff the original bettor off their hand.

This type of new player making improper or undersized bets also loses potential earnings when suddenly they show strength and are dismayed when getting no action. By consistently making proper-sized wagers and being aggressive when you play, opponents will not readily be able to take you lightly and your earnings will increase significantly.

— Al Spath is the former Dean at Poker School Online and teaches poker live and online.HisYouTube Channel (Al Spath) has 170-plus free instructional videos. Al’s twitch broadcasts are live from two channels: (PositivePokerInsiders and AlSpath). Contact Al at alspath@alspath.com with questions coaching inquires.