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Poker Pot Limits

When you first start playing poker, it is very important to understand the fundamentals of the game. I usually recommend that someone should start playing in a low limit game because it will naturally let you see more hands and it will allow you learn the fundamentals of the game without needing to worry about the dynamics of betting in either a Pot Limit or No Limit Game.

What is Limit Poker:

A limit game simply refers to the betting limits for that particular table. In a $2-$4 limit game (whether it is holdem, Omaha, or Seven Card Stud) it simply means that the opening betting rounds will be in increments of $2 and the later rounds (the turn and the river) will be at the higher betting level of $4.

Many players will try to see a flop in a limit game that they would not typically play in a No Limit or Pot Limit game. If you are in late position and have a hand that has good potential, I often raise in a limit game because it gives you the opportunity to either maximize your profits if you do like the flop or get a free card if you do not like the flop (Players will tend to check to someone who raises).

What is No Limit Poker:

No Limit means that a player can bet his/her entire bankroll at any time. The minimum bet is still set by the table limit, so in a $2-$4 No Limit game the minimum bet will be $2 for the first two betting rounds, and $4 for the final two betting rounds. It is not uncommon to see a player bet two or three times the pot to force players with marginal hands out of the hand.

What is Pot Limit Poker:

A Pot Limit game means that any player can bet the total amount of money that is in the pot at any time. So if there are three players after the opening, a player could be $6.00 (3 x $2 assuming there were no raises) and if all three players called, the next betting round could be $24.00. When calculating the total money in the pot, the player includes all money currently in the pot plus the value of his bet to call (if he is raising) so if you bet the pot ($6) to me I could re-raise $18 ($6 in the pot + your bet of $6 + my call for $6)

How does this affect poker strategy?

I will often hear players complain that they do not like limit games because people will call anything. That does seem to be true for lower limit games, but the important thing to remember is to call hands that have intrinsic power. Obviously you are going to call A-A, A-K,A-Q,K-K, etc. But in a limit game you also should call mid pairs, connectors (two consecutive cards) and suited cards much more freely than you would in a no limit game. You also want to protect your strong hands by raising if you have late position. This will allow you to maximize your return if you do connect and have a strong hand after the flop.

In Pot Limit Games, and No Limit games it is very important to be aware of your position on the table. It is much easier to pick up a pot with a solid raise 4x BB from late position. If you have a strong hand with either the BB or SB, being last to act pre-flop gives you very strong position so if everyone has limped in and simply called your Blind, a solid raise can often knock everyone out of the hand.

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