If you’re trying to improve your results in no limit Texas Hold ‘em, you need to adopt strategies specific to this game. However, there are a few quick lessons that you can incorporate as you sit down at the table for your next poker game.
Don’t ever limp into pots. Never call preflop three-bets unless you happen to have a ridiculously good hand.
If you find yourself dragging into the pots, call that preflop raise and check or fold the flop when you miss, you’re leaking badly. However, this is a mistake that just about every new player makes until someone tells him to stop doing it (I’ve seen this countless times when playing online poker). If you just stop limping in, no matter what your hand is, you can protect your bankroll and eventually send your win rates skyrocketing overnight.
But what does it mean to stop limping? Watch your stack and play tighter, particularly when you find yourself out of position. The tighter the better until you establish yourself as a seasoned player.
When your opponents break Rule #1, raise a lot of hands with position, bet the flop and start betting the turn too.
If you think about it, this is actually a simple step, but you’ll love the consistency of your profits at the real money poker tables once you start playing online. Too many players keep things too loose before the flop, are too apt to call preflop raises after they limp in, and are too easy when it comes to checking or folding the flop or turn if they happen to miss. If you have a lot of players, you can stop paying attention to your own cards and just raise the limps, bet on almost all of the flops, and best the majority of the turn cards too.
Here’s an example. If two players limp in a $2-$5 poker game, and you raise up to $25 on the button, then both limpers call. You see the flop is 10 of hearts/8 of clubs/3 of diamonds. They check and you put in a $75 bet. One player calls. The turn shows the 6 of clubs. Your opponent checks, you bet $150 more, and he folds. Ok, an scenario like that is great for you, because whatever the cards you had, it doesn’t matter anymore. Your opponents play call/call/fold so many times that you just have to set the bets down and let them keep taking the bait.
Don’t pay off big river and turn bets.
This might not be true for all no limit hold ‘em games, but in the $2-$5 games in Vegas, this might be the very best advice you’ll get. Don’t pay anyone off. If someone makes a big river or turn bet or a raise, that one-pair hand that you have (or whatever you’re considering calling with) will catch bluffs. The most of the time, your opponents won’t be setting up a value bet with a worse hand. You’ve either lost or your opponent is setting up a bluff. However, in $2-$5 games, players don’t bluff with enough frequency to make calling worth your money. So don’t pay off. You might think you’re losing out on big pots, but this isn’t a complex game. Big bets usually mean big hands, so don’t waste your money by calling.
Remember that you can always practice these techniques and sharp your skills at our free online poker tables before you feel is the right time to make the transition to real cash online poker.