5 Tips for Small Stakes No-Limit Texas Holdem Cash Game
Tips & Strategies to beat the small stakes No Limit Cash Games
Small Stakes No Limit Tip #1
You make your money when you hit a big hand and get paid off.[geocode id=1]
For the most part it is a waste of time to try to steal it, other than mixing up your game some but no one notices at low limits anyway really.
It’s ok to fold from late position if you have garbage. Why raise a $1.50 to steal $ .35 when you are holding Eight Three offsuit? Just muck it.
Don’t try and make your money winning lots of small blinds… you want to get called when you have a strong hand and steal the medium sized pots when you see an opportunity to bluff (more on that below).
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Pick a table that will let you limp cheaply – play flops for big hands.
What you want is a table that is first loose and second mostly passive.
You want to see most of the players limping in with any two cards and especially if they are calling raises out of position with dominated hands like KJ, KQ, AJ, AT… Avoid tables that have 3 or more pre-flop raisers unless there is a compelling reason to play there. Here is a more detailed article on No Limit Holdem Table Selection. Sites with good low limit traffic are Bodog Poker and Poker Stars.
You want to see flops cheaply with YOUR drawing hands and make the others PAY with theirs (by raising/playing aggressive with your strong cards). If the table is also loose (which most are) I like playing most pairs if I can get in cheaply. If it is more common for the pot not to be raised pre-flop you can limp in with all small pairs and suited connectors down to around 78.
If there has been much raising at your table then I’d muck the smaller suited connectors unless it is a loose table and then it is fine to make a loose call in position. If raising is fairly common at your table then get up and find a different table unless there is an overly compelling reason to stay. At most major sites there is plenty of table selection at the low stakes no limit tables.
One thing I have noticed is that in general you want to find a table that doesn’t have quite the highest average pot, but just a couple of notches below average. On the $25 buyin tables the larger pots are around $13 dollars, so I look for a table with between $8 and $10.
Don’t bother with the tables with very low average pots, these normally indicate a table full of rocks that won’t give you the action you want when you hit your hand.
Bluff when you miss completely and you see no aggression, not when you have draws.
Don’t be inclined to bluff if you have a draw to a strong hand if the pot is relatively small. If the pot is larger and worth taking down right now then a semi-bluff could be correct, but in the small pots it is ok to let them stay small if you are drawing.
Playing no limit, you can build a pot all at once. If you’re drawing to a straight and can take a free card, be inclined to take it. I know this seems contrary to the idea of the semi-bluff, but this is low limit, no limit.
Someone might be slowplaying top two pair and they want to check raise you. Plus, they will pay you off with all sorts of garbage hands. So instead of betting out on a semi bluff and either getting called, raised or winning a small pot… consider checking and seeing if you hit your hand.
If you hit your hand and your opponent was planning on check raising you’re going to now get paid off… and get paid off much more than you would with one hand than you would if you took down a number of these small pots by successfully semi bluffing. Only if the pot is somewhat large and you have a very strong draw, and you think your opponent will fold to a hefty raise should you put out the semi-bluff, and if you do, make it stick.
For example, in a small stakes game if it is checked to you’ve got an open ended straight draw. You can check and take a free card or you can make a semi-bluff. You decide to semi-bluff with a pot sized bet of $1.75. What are you going to do when you get re-raised to $7.75? You’ve got a draw that if hits will most likely win, but you’ve got to call that is too expensive based on the odds of you hitting it.
If you would have checked, you would have saved the $4 flop bet and pretty much regardless what comes on the turn you are going to be bet into by the player who was hoping to check raise. If you hit do hit your straight, BINGO $$. A player who was planning on check raising but doesn’t get the chance (because you and everyone else checks behind him) will bet out on the turn nearly every time.
You’re probably going to get paid off for a decent sum of money because people who wanted to check raise on the flop are simply unprepared to lay down to a raise on the turn and they will most likely call the river unless the board is just super scary. On the other hand, if you miss your draw and are bet out into on the turn you can lay your hand down and it costs you very little of your stack.
So instead of putting yourself into a sticky situation with a difficult decision on calling/folding, don’t bet here. Instead take your free card and be willing to give up the small pot.
On the other hand – if you totally miss the flop and don’t see much aggression, go ahead and make a bluff at the pot. Now if you get check-raised you can lay your hand down without much deliberation.
Tighten up when it comes to calling a raise.
Avoid playing attractive looking, but dangerous hands like KJ, QT, ATo.
If the pot is raised by a typical player they will be raising with AK, AQ, and many pairs. Fold these hands even if you are a blind. Sure it might only be .75 cents to call, but what are you going to do when you call a raise with Queen Jack and the flop comes Queen, Ace, Eight and your opponent bets into for the size of the pot?
This puts you in a difficult situation. – Avoid these and play TIGHT when dealing with a raise.
Tip # 5.
It’s ok to limp in cheaply with drawing hands if you have the discipline to get away from the hand after the flop.
I’m not advocating ‘Any Two will Do.’ But the strong drawing hands can be played profitably if you have the discipline to get away from the hand when you are beaten.
Nut flush draws are the best example. If the table is full of loose limpers then I’m playing these hands often, and using pot sweetening bets when I have position. Even if you have to call a modest sized raise from someone, it is ok as long as they have a relatively large chip stack. (if you hit your hand you want to take their stack). Having numerous opponents with drawing hands isn’t as important in No Limit as in Limit, since you can win a huge pot against just 1 other player playing No Limit as compared to only being able to take a set amount form , but drawing hands always love company.
If you miss this flop and it doesn’t look very coordinated with a lot of connectors or scary, this can be a decent time to bluff. Stick in a 3/4 pot sized bet, even from early position if you only have two players to act behind you. Steal these pots unless you see resistance.
Don’t call a raise and be leary of anyone who calls your flop bet. If the turn is another blank then you can fire another shot, but be sure you bet a healthy size (1/2 the pot at least) and try and make sure you’re not walking into a huge trap. Most players don’t have the imagination to stick in a raise on the flop (or especially the turn) without a hand. Sets can easily be hidden so tread cautiously if you get called on the flop. Checking and folding is ok, you can’t successfully bluff every time.
I hope you enjoyed these No Limit Texas Holdem Tips. Another good source for No Limit Texas Holdem Strategy can be found at Steve Badger’s Site.
I’m currently playing small stakes No Limit at Bodog Poker . Bodog has micro limits available for No Limit Ring Game, with nickel dime blinds, plus the site is pretty juicy.
Thanks and best of luck at the tables!
Kick Ass Poker
P.S – Be sure and check out the poker strategy videos for examples and advice on how to play texas holdem (low stakes) and here is a complete list of poker strategy articles.