Becoming a Consistent Winner at Online Low-Limit Texas Hold Em
Start with LIMIT Texas Hold 'Em
Both limit and no-limit Texas Hold 'Em are wonderful games. Each game provides unique opportunities in nearly every single hand and subtle complexities that can take more than a lifetime to master. However, each game emphasizes different skill sets in order to master it. Limit Texas Hold 'Em is both an art and a science. However, the structured betting emphasizes the science aspect of the game. Likewise, no-limit Texas Hold 'Em is also both an art and a science, but the absence of structured betting emphasizes the art aspect of the game. Ultimately, I believe good poker players should excel at both versions of the game (as well as many other variations of poker), but I think that beginning players should initially focus on limit Texas Hold 'Em before moving on to no-limit.
Despite this recommendation, please do not mistake limit Texas Hold 'Em as an easier game than no-limit. The skill required to win an additional bet (or more likely save an additional bet) in a hand is extremely high and your profits from limit Hold 'Em come from those extra bets.
I make this recommendation for a number of reasons. One, limit Texas Hold 'Em forces beginning players to learn all of the basics of Texas Hold 'Em such as starting hand requirements, pot odds, and implied odds. Many of these same concepts are less critical in no-limit Hold 'Em (as I am sure many of you have seen on TV). However, please do NOT fool yourself. These same players you see on TV raising ten-two unsuited have already mastered the underlying fundamentals (starting hand requirements, reading the texture of the flop, pot/implied odds, basic strategy).
Two, since limit Hold 'Em is more of a science, it lends itself to more rules that beginners can rely on. As you progress in your limit career, you will uncover more and more exceptions to these rules. However, reliance on rules such as starting hand requirements and pot/implied odds can transform a beginning limit player from a significant loser to a winner. Please note, in short-handed limit games the rules have less significance so please stick to 9 to 11 man, limit Hold 'Em while learning.
Three, expert players have a much greater advantage over beginning players in no-limit than they do in limit. There are many situations in limit where both the better and the caller are playing correct strategy because of pot odds. In no-limit, this is less likely and usually 1 of the players is making a mistake and more often than not it is the beginning player, not the expert player. Since beginning players are at less of a disadvantage in limit, in only makes sense to transform yourself from a beginning player to an intermediate player at limit Hold 'Em.
So begin your ascent now. Learn the game! Don't let your opponents fool you into thinking playing by the book is ignorant. Remember, the majority of your opponents are long-term losers! For starters, I would recommend the Texas Help 'Em guide (available at www.TexasHelpEm.com) since it consolidates what you need to know and presents it in a manner that is practical to reference by beginning players while actually playing online. It is my experience that most people cannot sit and read a traditional poker text without falling asleep! If you decide the Texas Help 'Em guide is not right for you, I still strongly recommend that you find the basic limit strategy reading that is.
Once you improve to the point where you have mastered starting hand requirements, pot/implied odds, reading the texture of the board/flop, pot/implied odds, and basic strategy, and are profitable (which you will know because you will record all of your winnings and losses per session, right???), you then have several options available.
Move Up in Stakes
This is how to progress from a low-limit player to a mid-limit player to a fill-in-the-blank here. It is important to never go bankrupt. Never play at stakes that jeopardize your bankroll. It is also important to note that winning strategy often changes at mid-level and higher stakes so I would not recommend moving up too high until after you have read and understand several advanced limit Hold 'Em books.
Play 6-Man Limit Hold 'Em
6-man Limit Hold 'Em provides for a much faster, and often more entertaining game. However, please be warned that as mentioned earlier, the skill set required for short-handed games varies greatly from that of 9-11 man games. Beginning players simply do NOT do well in short-handed games so avoid these games until you are at least an intermediate level player and have read several books on advanced limit Hold 'Em strategies.
Play No-Limit Hold 'Em
Now that you have mastered the basic (and essential) fundamentals Hold 'Em (starting hand requirements, reading the texture of the board, pot/implied odds, basic strategy), you are in good position to begin learning no-limit Hold 'Em. As I recommend with limit Hold 'Em, I would encourage you to pick-up a text on no-limit Texas Hold 'Em for beginners. I must caution you in advance that many of the recommendations will be that it depends on what you think he has, what you think he thinks you have, on what you think he thinks you think he has?Get it? Rules do not apply as much to no-limit which makes it a more difficult game to teach in a book so please be cautious.
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