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Limit-->NL Discussion for experienced Limit Hold'em players wanting to learn or transition to No Limit Hold'em

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Old 10-17-2012, 11:45 PM   #1
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Transitioning from limit to no limit

Hey, fellas! I've been thinking about learning No Limit Texas Hold'Em, since it seems like it's quickly becoming more popular that Limit Texas Hold'Em. Now, I've played limit for quite some time and I've done well for myself, so I figure "well heck, why not give No Limit a try?"

Now, I know the swings can be pretty big in No Limit (or so I've heard), so I'll be starting off small, just to get a feel for the game. I already bought No Limit Hold'Em: Theory and Practice. Does anyone else have any book suggestions?
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:46 AM   #2
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

No book recommends, just practical advice. I made the transition myself, and did so successfully. Indeed, it's probably easier to make this transition than the other way around. One big difference is that in limit, you can make mistakes. If your mistakes/bad play are less frequent and/or less costly than theirs, you still come out ahead. One mistake at no limit doesn't just cost you a few bets. It costs you your whole stack.

Position:

In any Hold 'Em game, position is always important since your position is fixed in the rotation for every street. However, position is more critical in no limit. In limit, you're not going to be able to force opponents out so easily. They're seldom drawing so thin that they're making a big mistake by calling. If you're betting up front, you know how much it'll cost you if you get raised, so you're not so concerned with what anyone behind you is planning to do. Not so in no limit, as you don't want to lead off into a line of players, one of whom just might raise you your whole stack. It is far better to have seen what they have done before you act. Having position on your opponent(s) is worth more in no limit.

The converse is also true. In limit, you might have a strong hand that you'd gladly lead off, and if there's a raise behind you, you can call it, or even get in a reraise. The same hand in no limit should be checked, even if you risk giving a free card. That TPTK may look tempting, but what are you going to do if you lead, and now you're looking at calling off two-thirds of your entire stack? Bad position makes that hand a lot less attractive than it would be in a limit game. The same applies to playing out of the blinds. You can play more hands in limit, but no limit, a lot of otherwise decent hands will have to be let go since you're first up on every street.

General Strategy:

Since your ability to drive the action is limited in limit, figure more pots will go multi-way in a limit game. That means you want hands with staying power: nut flush draws, big OESD's, or combination draws. You will get the odds you need to call most of the time. A ( A, 6 ) is better in limit since you can flop a nut flush draw, and if it's you and three others taking the flop, you have odds. In no limit, your opponent can always set the odds, and you'll have to either fold or make a call with a negative EV.

In no limit, what you're looking for is a made hand and then to get in as much as you can when it's good. Let the opponent(s) make the -EV calls. If they suck out, well, them's the breaks. At least the chips went to the center when you had the advantage.

This aspect also makes speculative hands that much more valuable. If you have ( 7, 6 ) and can call a cheap raise pre-flop, and you have position, then you should do it. If that hand connects with the flop in a big way, you might be able to stack your opponent. In limit, you'd be less likely to play that hand, and almost never for a raise pre, because even if you do hit, the amount you can win is, well, limited in limit.

The other consideration is stack sizes. In no limit, you're not just looking at the pot right now, but the stacks in relation to pot size. (The latest buzz word is "SPR" -- stack to pot ratio) It's rarely a consideration in limit. In no limit, how you play a short stack is very different from how you play a big stack. If your opponent doesn't have much, basically revert to a limit type strategy: aggressively bet a TPTK hand into him. If he wins, he hasn't done much damage, or you can either get him out to open a spot for a more well heeled fish, or make him reload. If you have a speculative hand, then better to pass and wait for another opportunity, as you don't gain much if your long shot comes in if he doesn't have much. If it's a big stack v. big stack, you'd play a TPTK hand a good deal more cautiously. That's not the type of hand you want to play for stacks even if it's a "bread and butter" hand in limit. Lose with it in limit, and all you've lost is a few bets. Lose with it at no limit, and there goes your entire stack. Against that big stack, speculate with those suited connectors, or set mine with small to mid range pairs. If you connect, you can knock off that big stack, or make a considerable dent in it. In no limit, hands like TPTK or pocket over pairs are not a "till death do us part" proposition. These need to be played more cautiously, especially when the stacks are deep. You'd be more likely to stay with pocket aces or kings with a wet, draw-heavy board in a limit game. If you lose, it's just a few bets. In no limit, it might mean your stack. You have to let these "bread and butter" limit hands go more readily when playing them in no limit. On the up side, you can get in a lot more pre when you have those rockets in the pocket in no limit, whereas in limit, you're limited to just the lower limit when you raise. That's also part of getting it in good.

There are also psychological adjustments. You won't succeed at no limit if you're the type who runs nut scared all the time. The nuts don't come that often, and if you don't have them, then there's a good likelyhood that your opponent doesn't have them either. If you have a good reason to believe that a big bet or a big raise is what's required, then that's what you should do.

Last session I played, I raised pocket sevens from a late-middle position (just ahead of the hijack) and got one caller. The board ran out with a very dry ( A, 6, 2 ) and he bet $20 at me. I figured him for, at best, a weak ace, or perhaps some pocket pair that fell in between first and second button. Maybe my sevens were the best and maybe they weren't. I made it $40 on top and he folded. That's what I figured I needed to do, and so I did it. You can't be afraid to make plays, or bets bigger than what you perceive to be your opponent's resolve to call. I would never try that in a limit game since all he has to do is call one more bet to see if his A,3-off or pocket eights are good.

Don't make the mistake of betting 1/2 pot or less just because he "might" have the nuts. Go ahead and make that pot-sized or over bet if you believe that's what you need to do. Wait until he ships it before you worry about it. Also, don't be afraid to make a value bet or raise and fold if you're looking at an unexpected ship. Bet/fold and raise/fold is a part of no limit play, though you'd seldom do that in any limit game. In limit, you're seldom drawing that thin, and even an ill-advised bet or raise won't cost you more than a fraction of a bet in the long run. You can't let fear rule your decisions, otherwise, it will be you who's giving odds to the good players to chase you and/or bluff you off hands. Some excellent limit players can't succeed at no limit for this very reason.

Expect to see more aggressive play. Passive NLHE games do exist, but so do LAG players. They may not necessarily be any good, but the nature of no limit rewards aggressive play a lot more than limit play. (And for you NL LAGs, tone it down if you're in a limit game -- you will be looked up a lot more often.) Don't let that intimidate you, otherwise, you become a caller, and callers are not winners at Hold 'Em.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:46 PM   #3
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

Thanks!
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:21 PM   #4
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

You're welcome. Just remember: you can only truly learn by doing. Find a small no limit game, get involved, and pay attention. See what works for you and what doesn't. Don't expect to win right from the get-go, but don't let the losses discourage you either.

If you got what it takes to make that transition, you will come out on top.
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Old 12-18-2012, 01:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fubster View Post
Hey, fellas! I've been thinking about learning No Limit Texas Hold'Em, since it seems like it's quickly becoming more popular that Limit Texas Hold'Em. Now, I've played limit for quite some time and I've done well for myself, so I figure "well heck, why not give No Limit a try?"

Now, I know the swings can be pretty big in No Limit (or so I've heard), so I'll be starting off small, just to get a feel for the game. I already bought No Limit Hold'Em: Theory and Practice. Does anyone else have any book suggestions?
Read Harrington on cash
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:03 AM   #6
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

No limit holdem requires a bigger bankroll to play as there is bigger variance rather than the games at limit stakes.
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:43 AM   #7
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

Kyuubimon,
Thanks for that very helpful post. Everything you said was very simple and obvious, but I hadn't thought of it that way.
I can beat your average 1/2 or 2/5 NL in a casino, but struggle with NL micros online. On the other hand, all the money I've made playing poker online is from playing shorthanded limit, although I get bored sitting in a casino and playing limit. It's not easy to find 6 max limit action online any more so I'm trying to make the transition (unsuccessfully so far). Hope to turn the corner soon.
Thanks again.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:25 PM   #8
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

You're a little late to the party, lol. No limit has been popular for a while. In fact, there is indication that it is in decline in some areas. If you want to try something new, you may want to consider "Omaha" - the poker game of the future. It's a lot like Hold'em only you get more cards. Usually four.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:09 PM   #9
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

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Originally Posted by metaname2 View Post
You're a little late to the party, lol. No limit has been popular for a while. In fact, there is indication that it is in decline in some areas. If you want to try something new, you may want to consider "Omaha" - the poker game of the future. It's a lot like Hold'em only you get more cards. Usually four.
I don't see NLHE going away any time soon. It's always good to try different games, and Omaha certainly is worth mastering (as is Omaha-8). Sometimes, it can be a real fish magnet. Sometimes, even ridiculously so, and a lot of good money to be made when that happens. Being able to take advantage of donk-a-thons adds to the bottom line, even if you're not an Omaha specialist, and it isn't your best game. All you need is to be better than your opposition.

"It's a lot like Hold'em only you get more cards. Usually four".

Only on a very superficial level. That's pure fish-thought. The A Number One difference is that, in Omaha, the preflop value of a hand isn't so clear cut as it is in Hold 'Em. You should be less eager to stack-off before seeing a flop in Omaha. Fish just love that "catch up" factor, and that they often suck out. They fail to consider if they're sucking out often enough to be +EV, and they seldom are, but Omaha feeds the illusion better than Hold 'Em does.
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Old 05-21-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuubimon View Post
Only on a very superficial level. That's pure fish-thought. The A Number One difference is that, in Omaha, the preflop value of a hand isn't so clear cut as it is in Hold 'Em. You should be less eager to stack-off before seeing a flop in Omaha. Fish just love that "catch up" factor, and that they often suck out. They fail to consider if they're sucking out often enough to be +EV, and they seldom are, but Omaha feeds the illusion better than Hold 'Em does.
Well I know it was superficial, I didn't want to go into too much detail because this is a NL forum. Otherwise, I would have pointed out that you only get to use two (and only two) of those cards, plus the other players get four cards too, so be careful there, and always be careful about stacking-off, etc. Also, and forgive me for saying this, but your enthusiasm for beating up on less skilled players is a little unseemly imo. No offense, I am sure you are a knowledgeable player, but you kinda sound like you would be a drag to play with.
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Old 05-22-2013, 04:14 AM   #11
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

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Also, and forgive me for saying this, but your enthusiasm for beating up on less skilled players is a little unseemly imo. No offense, I am sure you are a knowledgeable player, but you kinda sound like you would be a drag to play with.
Beating up on the less skilled players is where you make the lion's share of your money. Of course, you don't have to be an icehole about it, and there is such a thing as proper table deportment. You can do both at once: beat up on the less skilled and make for a game the less skilled still feel comfortable playing.

That's what I do, and no one thinks I'm a drag to play with. Poker is also a game of diplomacy, and those who forget that aren't winning very much regardless of how good they are. You win nothing if your bad behavior gets you barred, or everyone suddenly decides they have better things to do when your name goes up on the waiting list.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:53 PM   #12
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

Thanks. I'm happy to hear your deportment is in good order. I hate to generalize, but I feel like a lot of you young guns are a little too workaday in your manners. I like a little extra money as much as the next guy, but when I calculate my "EV," I credit myself a couple bucks for each time I make someone smile. And there is "no limit" to how many times you can do that. In fact, I never have a losing session.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:26 AM   #13
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

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Thanks. I'm happy to hear your deportment is in good order. I hate to generalize, but I feel like a lot of you young guns are a little too workaday in your manners.
'Cept I'm not a young gun. Age-wise, I'm closer to Doyle Brunson than Tom Dwan.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:03 PM   #14
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

Lol, my mistake. Apologies.

Anyway, to address the original question - OP I recommend you read Super-system if you have not already. Following that, you may want to watch season 5 of the Wire, which doesn't have a lot of poker info, but, like Super-system, is woefully underrated by the wags on this forum.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #15
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Re: Transitioning from limit to no limit

What about bankroll requirements for NL? I was told, a thousand years ago, that a standard bankroll recommendation for fixed limit is 300 big bets to be able to handle the variance. Is there some similar standard recommendation for NL in terms of buy-ins or something like that?
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