No-Limit and Pot-Limit Poker

The bet size, in no-limit poker, is limited only by the number of chips you have on the table. You can bet all your chips at anytime. So the bets on later betting rounds are much larger than the bets on the early rounds. This makes no-limit poker a game of implied odds. If you can see the flop cheaply, most of hands are worth calling a small pre-flop bet because if you are fortunate with the flop, you can get a very big payoff.

We shall discuss some strategic differences. You need to think about things a little differently in no-limit poker.

Don't Call

In limit game, whenever there is a decision about a call, you should first think about raising. In big-bet game, whenever there is a decision about a call, you should first think about folding. There is big difference between the two structures.

Am I Beaten?

In pot-limit or no-limit poker, you should ask yourself a question, "Am I beaten?" Do not ask what are the odds that I'm beaten? There is a big difference between those questions. If you move from limit games to no-limit, you won't become a poker winner until you do ask that question.

Pot-Limit

Pot-limit is the form of betting structure. In pot-limit you can bet any amount up to the size of the pot, so you can't make a big bet in pot-limit unless you have first made the pot large. Now slow-playing makes an excellent strategy in pot-limit. Other than the extra importance of slow-play, pot-limit and no-limit are very identical.

A Sample Hand

We think the sample hand illustrates a couple of things about pot-limit and no-limit poker that are very significant. First, it shows the importance of implied odds and second it shows the importance of folding when it looks like you are beaten. Let's take the example of the sample hand which was played by one of our friend.

Pre-Flop

He was on the blind with 77. An early position player limped in (only called the $5 blind) and a late position player called. Now he thought about raising, but he didn't raise.
He was correct for not raising his hand. In pot-limit, it is often a good idea to put in a pre-flop raise with a pocket pair because if you do flop a set, you want the pot to be big so that you can make a large bet. In this situation, a raise was very dangerous. The early position player was likely to have been limping with a large pair, with the intention of re-raising any late raise.

The Flop

The flop came JJ7, giving our friend a full house, the excellent flop for77. Our friend checked, hoping that one of the other players would bet. Checking was the right thing to do in this situation. Now the pot has only $15 in it. That's the most our friend could bet. If someone else bets first, he can then raise a larger amount. Let's move further.

The original opener bets $15. The late position player calls. Now there was $45 in the pot. Our friend can raise $60 now ($45 plus the $15 from the friend's call). Our friend raises.

Till here, it was going perfect. Even though we have got the smallest possible full house, it appears unlikely that either of the other two players have a full house. They probably have the texas hand like QQ or AJ.
The original bettor folded. The late position caller raises $180. This friend calls the raise.

Now this friend was thinking that the guy probably had something like AJ. Until that last raise, this was a good conjecture, but in pot-limit and no-limit especially, you need to constantly use new information to reconsider the situation. Here we have a player who is been quietly calling every bet until now, when the pot has gotten has very large. Only now does he take the chance and raise. This is a style of a big hand. This player has a full house and any full house will beat the full house that our pair of sevens makes. Now you need to ask a question, "Am I beaten? The only answer to that question is yes. It is time to fold.

In a pot-limit or no-limit game, play loose, play aggressive but do not call. If you never called a raise holdem strategy, you would be only making a small mistake.

Continue: Special Situations in Poker