Poker Games Situations

Spread-Limit Games

The bet size is not fixed in spread-limit games. They are structured with a maximum bet and you can bet any amount from $1 to the maximum for the betting round. One important thing to remember when playing in spread-limit games is that you should almost always bet or raise the maximum amount. An exception is when you are just calling then call whatever the bet is.

Spread-limit games are structured to allow the same betting range at every betting round. An example is 1-5. Some spread-limit games double the maximum allowable bet on the turn. An example of that is 1-4-8-8.
Regardless, how the spread-limits are structured, still spread-limit games have two things in common:
1. The blinds are small compared with the maximum bet.
2. The initial pre-flop bet is small compared with bets on future rounds.

It is sometimes correct to play very tight in these games with the small blinds and small initial bets. It is also sometime correct to play very loose. What to choose all depends on the particular poker game conditions.

Tight Versus Loose Play

Pot Odds and Tight Play

In many spread-limit games, there isn't much money in the pot to begin with. In many 1-5 games, for example, you only have one blind, $1. The rake is larger than that if there is any action so you are competing for much money at all. The competing for-the-ante-perspective indicates you should play very, very tight if no one else has entered the pot.

Implied Odds and Loose Play

Consequently, the initial bet size is likely to be small compared with the later bet size. Therefore, the implied odds are good, and a money-and-odds perspective indicates that loose play is actually correct.

A Mixed Approach

How will you play tight poker game? As said earlier, it all depends on game conditions but generally you should do both. You should play tight at times and play loose at other times. Before the flop you can play tighter than normal from early position. This is because there isn't enough initial money in the pot to compensate for your chances of a raise but if someone else has started, you should call generally than normal early position. This is because you are getting large implied odds to try to outdraw an early position opener.

Passive Games

You will be able to see many flops in a passive game. You can do this cheaply compared to the size of future bets and you are getting implied odds to play drawing poker hands, even if the game is tight. If the game is loose, you should play speculative and gambling hands.

You can fold most hands on the flop. If you don't flop a very good hand or a very good draw, just fold and try for another good one. If there was no raise before the flop, then you won't be getting any pot odds for a draw. Loose pre-flop and tight on the flop is the way to play a passive spread-limit game.

Aggressive Games

In spread-limit games, pre-flop raises may affect any implied odds you might get. You should play very tightly before the flop in an aggressive game. However, if there is some raising before the flop, the pot is big enough to loosen up some on the flop, and you can play a few more marginal draws. The maximum bet doubles on either the turn or the river in spread-limit games. In these games you should particularly loosen up some on the flop. In an aggressive spread-limit game, you should generally play tighter pre-flop and looser after the flop.

Loose Games

In a loose game, it takes a strong hand to open the pot if you are first to act from an early position. If the game is very passive and you need not afraid of a raise, you can sometimes call an early position raiser with drawing hands or speculative hands. This is because the situation of two or three early position callers often tends to draw in late players with weak hands.

The drawing hands, speculative hands and the gambling hands require progressively higher odds to be played profitably. Many higher odds come from implied odds -from bets on future betting rounds. In loose spread-limit games where the initial bet is very small compared with bets on later rounds of betting, these implied odds are big enough.

Tight Games

In a tight game, when you are in the late position and an early position player has called, you should only call with the dominating power hands. When you only have only one or two rivals, you should play with such hands that have a good chance to start out as a better hand. That's because you are getting weak odds to begin with and your implied odds with few callers are also low.

Loose-Weak Players in Spread-Limit Games

In general, we think of the games that need implied odds as playable if a certain number of callers have entered the pot, but it is untrue in spread-limit games. These games have many loose players before the flop who play much tighter on the later betting rounds.

Your implied odds are likely to maximize as the number of callers increases, but it is not an accurate relationship. When you have a game where most players see the flop, but only the best one or two hands go past the flop, your implied odds are not very high. You can often see this in spread-limit games.

When you have a loose player in the game, you don't really have very high implied odds because you will not have more than one or two players calling bets on the flop and after the flop. In loose spread-limit games, you should make your pre-flop hand selections more accurately as if it is a tight game. Many speculative and gambling hands become playable as the number of callers increases. More important than the number of callers is who those callers are. It is significant to keep record to the kind of mistakes your rivals commit.

Double Bet on the End Games

In some areas you will find that there are structured games where the bet size doubles on the turn and again on the river. For the river bet, players have an alternative to either bet the size of the turn bet or to bet the double that amount. Typical examples are 3-6-12 or 10-20-40. On the river, you have a choice between betting $6 or $12 in a 3-6-12 game or $40 in a 10-20-40 game.

In a 10-20-40 game, there are two blinds $5 and $10 just like in a 10-20 game. The only difference is the larger bet option on the end. This difference has essentially has huge implications for hand value and poker strategies. The large river bet basically benefits drawing hands even with game conditions that are not very loose. These are implied-odds games.

Many poker writers have a perception that the double bet on the end games favors the bad players over the good players. This is not correct if you have reasonable definition of what it means to be a good player. Here the definition of a good player is one who can identify and exploit opportunities. A double bet on the end game provides many opportunities. You have to be a good enough to adjust to and exploit them.

Continue: Before and After of Flop and River