Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Limit vs No Limit

Limit vs. No Limit. It's an eternal question in poker, isn't it? It gets even more complicated when you are talking about tourneys.

I'll be honest, I used to hate limit poker tourneys. I of course learned how to play poker playing limit, but moved to pot limit and no limit soon, as it is easier to make plays.

But think about what it means to "hate" a game when you are talking about poker. There's a few reasons you can hate something, but I'd have to say the usual reason is that you aren't very good at it. Instead of hating it and avoiding it, shouldn't you take it upon yourself to improve at it?

No Limit is slightly more of a 5 card game and limit uses all 7 cards a bit more. It's overly simplistic, but that's the real difference to me. In no limit you make a bet based on your hole cards, and post flop play consists mostly of who feels like they caught enough of the flop to make a play, or feels like nobody else caught enough of the flop that they can make a play. On a passive table you get some turn/river play, but you don't find a lot of passive tables at No Limit. If people want to play passive, they eventually learn that they are far better off at limit tables.

So my limit poker was weak, therefore I hated it. But was it? A large portion of the freerolls at (Did you see Marcel Luske pimping for Intertops in the WSOP coverage last night?) are limit, and I noticed that I was much more successful at those games than the no limit freerolls. The first one I ever won was limit.

The only other reason to hate limit is that it is not as exciting as no limit, especially early. In one limit tourney I won at Intertops I sat out the first 45 minutes to I could watch WSOP coverage on ESPN.

The beauty of limit tournaments is it nullifies a lot of the dumbass factor. The guys going all in on every naked ace for the first half hour. They can't do it, so they tend to stay away. Of course there are those that raise every single bet trying to bust out quickly. How do they find this even the slightest bit entertaining?

Last night's limit tourney ($10+1, $1000 added) was a very good example of the positive differences between limit and no limit. I struggled terribly for the first hour, never playing a hand to the turn. Some decent hole cards, but missing flops completely. But at the end of the first hour I managed to take a couple of pots, and just after the break I won a couple more and was in 2nd chip position out fo 60 players. Take out the dumbass factor and there's no "lottery winner" who has 20 times the starting stack from maniac all-ins. Solid play can and usually will keep you in range of the leaders. I played conservatively, stealing many pots when I felt like I was in the perfect circumstances, until I made the final table. Only 8 got paid, and I busted out one hand after number nine got blinded out. My 77 got beat by 44 in the BB when A235 came by the turn.

After that I joined a limit ring game at Royal Vegas. I am becoming a limit LOVER! I bought in for $40 at a $2/4 limit table, and in a mere 15 minutes was up to $154. This was more card rush than fine play, but man, you find a lot more callers at limit poker, and it sure is easier to chase down those flushes. My rush was pretty overwhelming and it broke up the table.


SirFWALGMan said...

I personally prefer limit too. It is too easy to lose any hand playing Hold'em. If I make one mistake and lose a single hand in limit I can wait and try again. One hand in NL and I am going home. I still play 25NL sometimes because it is a rush. The "All-In" is a gamboolers dream, and it is VERY exciting. If you are able to bluff a pot it is nice also. Chewing on your fingernails until the guy finally folds. heh. So my main source of income is the limit table, but if I want to blow off some steam I will play NL.

DuggleBogey said...

Funny, I do exactly the opposite. I play no limit/pot limit to make money and limit when I want to blow off steam/play more hands/act like a fish.

I may be doing things backwards though. Time to re-evaluate.

SirFWALGMan said...

It may be that your a much better NL player than I am. I am pretty weak on calling hands sometimes. I always look for the hand that will beat me. I would probably never have called the pair of tens. I figure some one could have a higher pocket pair, set, or two pair. Of course against all of those hands you have a 1/3 shot of winning so it is probably the right move.

I know what you mean about making money in NL. I have had nights where in a few hours I am up 100 bucks playing $25 NL, and then I have the nights when I bust out a few times. I find it more rewarding personally to take $50 to a 1/2 table and double or tripple that up. I think I am better at it also. It is all personal choice, but I find the limit tables to be a more consistant stream of income for me.