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In the last 10 years No Limit Holdem has become the most popular game played in the world. Thanks in part to TV Poker and the massive Multi-Table Tournament prize pools. No Limit Cash Games and tournaments are now a permanent fixture in land based casinos as well, and its really not a big surprise. No Limit Poker Games allow players to be aggressive, they have lots of action, and of course you can win big pots.The flip side of no Limit Poker, is that you can also go broke in one hand.
To help you avoid going broke, you have put together this simple guide if the Top 10 No Limit Poker Tips, so the next NL game you play, you can be confident that you know what edges to exploit against your opponents, and what strategies you can use to your advantage. Below, you will find a list of tips that will be of immense value to all NL Holdem players who are just getting started with their career.
Most online grinders adopt a tight aggressive playing style because it works. By playing fewer hands it makes post flop play easier, since you will find yourself in fewer tough spots where you are unsure if you have the best hand.
Although a tight aggressive strategy is usually best, that doesn t mean you shouldn t alter your strategy by sometimes entering pots with a raise with hands like suited connectors, or three betting with them, etc. Adding deception to your play can be extremely effective because your opponents will have a hard time putting you on hands when you hit, which will make it easier to get paid off.
In no-limit hold em, so many novice players tend to make the mistake of slow playing their big hands to trap an opponent. For example, instead of open raising with AA, an inexperienced player will just limp into the pot to try and set a trap, allowing other players with speculative hands to enter the pot and suck out on them. You only have the advantage with of the best hand holding AA preflop, on the flop it might just be another pair of overcards versus a straight or a flush, which can cost you a lot of money.
It s never usually a good idea to slow playing your hand. Most players will call you with all kind of hands. You should observe the board texture to see if there are any potential draws out there. It would be a cardinal sin to give free cards on a draw heavy board, allowing your opponent to catch their draw at no cost.
That being said, it sometimes can be good to slow play, when there are no possible draws, and it s impossible for your opponent to have a hand they can call with. In this situation, slow playing allows your opponent to hit a hand, allowing you to extract more value then had you bet straight away.
Bluffing is an important aspect of beating NL hold em games. One of the easiest ways to incorporate a bluffing strategy into your game is by taking advantage of the semi bluff. Bluffing when you have zero outs to improve the hand is a bad idea, but when you have some out, like when you have a flush draw, even when you get called, you still have a decent chance of winning the hand, even though your intention is to take down the pot straight away.
When playing in NL hold em tournaments or cash games, you want to closely observe the other players at the table, so you know who s playing loose or right, to get a better idea of their playing styles. It would be a bad idea trying to bluff a loose player, but if you can be confident your playing against a tight player and you find yourself in a heads up situation when you have nothing, but you sense weakness, it could be a good time to bluff. Your observant skills allowed you to win a pot you may not have won otherwise.
It s a good idea to refrain from trying to bluff bad players, because they are mostly only interested in their own hands, instead of what the betting of their opponents is trying to represent. For instance, if a player is willing to call you down with a bottom pair hand, getting folds from them is going to be extremely rare, and you should simply be looking to value bet against them.
Play more hands in position then when you re out of position, for the simple fact that position is more profitable in any poker games you play.
There is no black/white strategy to adopt in NL hold em. Some players will be maniacs always looking to make bold bluffs, while other players will sit snug and only look to play big pots with big hands. As a poker player, you need to adjust to the different playing styles of your opponents, so that you can react to their actions in an optimal manner.
Against a maniac who is playing loose and aggressively, it s much better to check and set the trap when you have a strong hand, because it s highly likely they will interpret this as a sign of weakness and will bet into you, perhaps even bluffing off their stack.
You should be doing this all day long when you have a decent made hand. Chances are they are calling with worse because they don t know how
Unfortunately, a complete poker tournament strategy cannot realistically be broken down into just ten steps, simply because so much information goes into a complete tournament strategy. However, that doesn't mean that a top ten list can't be useful - in fact, the reality is quite the opposite.
This top ten list can be digested in a few minutes, and will transform amateur tournament players into educated players who will have a much better shot at winning a big tournament score.
Ok, enough fluff - let's get right into our top ten tips for No Limit Hold'em tournament players:
The small blinds in the early stages of poker tournaments tempt many players to play a loose game. Don t let yourself fall into the same trap. The early stage of a poker tournament is full of loose players. All you have to do is sit tight and wait for strong hands. Besides, you don t want to waste your chips on marginal hands early in the tournament; you ll be needing those chips later.
The higher the blinds get, the more you need to steal them to stay alive. Unless you are lucky enough to win a few giant pots, you ll spend most of your time in a tournament short stacked and worried about the next blind increase. The bigger the blinds go, the more you need to steal them.
As the bubble approaches, you should increase your aggression even more to take advantage of the players just trying to sneak in to the money. Right before the money, you ll notice many players tighten up. They are just trying to survive long enough to make it to the money. These players represent a perfect opportunity for you to steal the blinds and pad your stack.
If you want to minimize the chances of you ever going broke, a tournament bankroll of at least 50 buy ins is recommended. This means that if you have a $1,000 bankroll, the most expensive tournaments you should play in are $20. Tournament players have to have a huge bankroll because big wins don t come often. The large bankroll gives you enough breathing room to survive those long draughts between wins.
As a tournament wears on, the players will have increasingly small stacks in comparison to the blinds. Small drawing hands like suited connectors and small pairs lose value because your average opponent is so short stacked. If you spend a lot of money prospecting with such hands, you won t get paid off with large enough pots to cover the expenses.
David Sklansky calls this the Gap Concept. The idea is that you don t have to have as strong a hand to push all-in as you do to make a big call. When you push all-in, you have the advantage of aggression and therefore have two ways to win the pot: by having the best hand or by making your opponent fold. When you call, you can only win the pot if you have the best hand at the showdown.
Remember this tip when it gets down towards the end of a tournament and the pressure is high on everyone to collect chips. You ll do better if you collect chips by pushing all-in rather than by making big all-in calls.
You ll have better luck by stealing from the players with average sized stacks than by stealing from large stacks or small stacks. The players with large stacks aren t afraid to make those calls because they have the chips to lose. The short stacked players will call your steals out of desperation.
The players with medium stacks aren t yet desperate enough to make wild calls but they don t have enough chips to make loose calls. These players are the most likely to fold to your steals. Attack these players as often as you can get away with it.
Players who play multi-table tournaments have a tough time getting practice in end-game scenarios like the final table and heads up play. Sit N Go tournaments (SNGs) are the perfect place to practice your skills. You ll start out in a situation similar to the final table and then get the opportunity to play in shorthanded situations as the players knock each other out. You might even win a little money while you re at it.
Always pay attention to your opponents and take notes. Not only will you learn useful things about their tendencies, but you ll also keep your head in the game. Plus, you would be surprised at how often you see the same players in different tournaments. Those notes will come in handy time and again.
Position is vital in poker tournaments because it represent a major knowledge advantage. When you act in late position, you get to see what your opponents do before you act. You can get away with playing weaker hands in late position thanks to that advantage. In early position, you need all the help you can get so you should stick with cards that are inherently strong.
Your tournament results will vastly improve if you play to win rather than to make it to the money. For example, if you build up a decent chip stack early, don t squander it by sitting tight and waiting for the bubble to break. Keep the pressure up and keep on building your stack.
The payouts for tournaments are heavily skewed to favor the players who reach the final table. If you play just to make it to the money, you ll cash more often but for small amounts. If you play for the 1st place finish, you will be knocked out more often but the occasional massive score will more than make up for the times you go out early.
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