Playing in other Non-Standard Games

Playing in Tightly Structured Games

When we say “tightly structured games,” we mean games where the structure makes tight play the right poker strategy and we are referring mainly to the $5-$10 and $10-$20 limits. For instance, the $10- $20 limit has a $1 ante and a $2 bring-in, and the first raise is to a total of $10. (The first raise used to be to a total of $7, but this form is only rarely spread anymore.) A $5- $10 game is similarly structured.

Compared to the $15-$ 30 limits, there is proportionately less starting money in the pot. When someone raises on third street in the $ 10-$20 game, he is raising to 10 times the size of the ante. This means that if it is a full raise to you, you need to be tighter than you would be in the $15-$ 30 game, assuming everything else is equal because in the $ 15-$ 30 game the raiser is raising only 7½ times the antae.

However, coming in for the bring-in in a tightly structured game is cheaper proportionately than in the $15-$ 30 game. So you can be a little looser coming in for this small amount. If you are in a game where there has not yet been any raise, it would be fairly common for you to call and then throw your hand away for a raise. This should happen only occasionally in a bigger game but should occur more often in these games.

If a lot of bad players are at your table, you should be limping in with even more hands(as in the $1- $4 game). But even for $2, it is important to stay away from hands that won’t do well in multiway pots. For example, usually don’t limp in with


especially if one of your cards is out. You would prefer to have


or perhaps two suited high cards in the hole, particularly if one of the high cards is an ace (and your hand is live).

You should also frequently limp if first in with a big pair if the game is playing fairly tight in an attempt to trap people. If someone then raises you should usually reraise unless their upcard is higher than your pair. (Now you should frequently fld.)

There is little difference on the later poker streets, except that some of your opponents will have a tendency to play a bit tighter. If there is no raise on third street, in which case the pot figures to be smaller, you should take that into account. In other words, you also should play tighter.

By the way, tightly structured games are excellent games for winning money, especially if several poor players are present. In addition, if you are playing well, your fluctuations when compared to other forms of seven card stud should be surprisingly small.