No Limit Hold’em Tips
No-limit holdem poker is one of the most exciting games you can ever sit down to play. The swings are big, the game is complex, and the money is huge. Players who sit down at the game armed with the following tips should be hugely favored over the casual after-work crowd and weekend gamblers.
We put together this article with the top five no limit holdem poker tips to help you become a better player, and to help you avoid common beginner mistakes like playing too many hands or playing too passively. You must make a commitment to learning and mastering these skills if you want to be a successful poker player.
1. Read a No-Limit Holdem Book
Unfortunately, no-limit holdem is much too complicated a game for anyone to become proficient by reading a single article. You can certainly learn a lot if you read all of the articles on this site! However one of the best ways to begin wrapping your head around the ins and outs of holdem is by reading a poker book. Two of the best books on holdem are Supersystem by Doyle Brunson, and Harrington on Holdem by Dan Harrington.
Supersystem is considered the Texas Holdem bible and has stood the test of time. It remains one of the most popular poker books of all time. Supersystem is our recommendation for cash game players. It will equip players with an aggressive mindset and give them the tools to understand starting hands, player styles, odds, and expected value.
Harrington on Holdem is a newer piece of poker literature, however it has quickly become one of the most critically acclaimed books on tournament holdem. Dan advocates a tighter style and introduces a concept known as “M” to track your stack size relative to the blinds and the field. Harrington’s book will help you analyze and plug leaks in your tournament game.
If you are interested in reading more about poker, make sure to check out our reviews on the top five poker books.
2. Be Aggressive in Position and Conservative Out of Position
Holdem is a game of information, and the advantage of having position on your opponent is that you have more information than your opponent does when you are making decisions at the table. You should press your advantage when you are in position by playing more hands and playing them aggressively; and you should play fewer hands out of position.
If you are on the button and the pot is unopened in front of you, you should raise any suited ace, medium un-suited aces, suited connectors, any pair, and basically any two broadway cards. If you are in early position you should limit your raising hands to medium to strong pairs and strong AK and AQ type hands. If you are playing versus strong regulars, you may want to balance your early position raising range by occasionally raising a suited connector. Balancing your range is only important however if there are observant players at the table who you play with frequently.
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3. Pay attention!
Keeping your eyes open and analyzing the game in front of you is essential to winning holdem. This cannot be overstated. If you notice that the player two to your left is aggressively defending his big blinds, take advantage by stealing fewer blinds and entering the pot with big cards. If he is under-defending his blinds, raise your button as often as possible.
You must also pay attention to your image and mindset. If you just went to showdown with a triple barrel bluff, your opponent’s image of you will adjust accordingly, and you should tighten up. Also be sure to stay aware of your mindset. If you are taking a lot of bad beats then you should probably consider taking a break to cool off. A break a day keeps the tilt away!
4. Always have a reason for your play
You should always be mindful of the types of players you are facing, your image, your stack size, your position, etc. If you just lost a large pot to a bad beat, consider folding ATo from the hijack rather than opening the pot. Your opponents are more likely to play back at you figuring that you might be steaming, and ATo doesn’t play very well against a reraise. Think about each decision and make sure you have a reason for each play you make at the poker table.
5. Tight is right!
Early in your poker career, playing tight poker is easily the best way to conserve your bankroll and take advantage of your opponent’s mistakes while you acclimate to the game you are playing in.
Also, in low stakes games, most players aren’t capable of reading particular hands well enough to recognize good bluffing opportunities when they come up. This means that in games up to about $100 nl you should usually give players credit for a strong hand when they are making an aggressive play at the pot post flop (continuation bets aside). Generally you should just play tight poker unless you have a good reason not to!