Betfair | Bluffing in Limit Poker

It’s much harder than in pot-limit or no-limit games

by , Mar 17, 2009 | 1:46 am

This is simply because the odds a player faces in limit hold’em are nearly always very good – and as a result folding too much is a much bigger mistake than calling too much (if you are getting ten to one odds you do not have to be right very often to show a profit making thin calls); this is the exact opposite of big bet poker, where calling too much will quickly bust you (you have to be much more confident about your hands strength when getting two to one or worse odds – as you have to be right a much higher percentage of the time).

“Always remember that limit is a game about extracting as much value from your hand as possible, and saving as many bets as you can when it looks like you are behind.”

As a result of this, many players brought up on big bet poker find limit an extraordinarily boring game when they first start learning the mechanics of it – the scope for advanced play making (and therefore a lot of the creative thought) is just much less in limit simply because it is so much harder to bluff. With most players now being brought up on big bet poker, many of the limit games (particularly the now popular mixed games) have become rather juicy in recent times, full of big bet players who try and bluff far too much.

This is not to say that bluffing should never be attempted in limit games, more that the style of bluffing has to be changed. In no limit hold’em it is usually possible to push people off middle and bottom pairs quite easily if you have the nerve – in limit hold’em this is much harder due to the vastly better odds you are forced to offer them. As a result of this it is important to try and size up which players will: a) regularly call bets with marginal hands (just only bet into them with strong hands and let their curiosity pay you off), or b) are folding in spots where they are clearly getting the correct odds to call with even a very weak hand.

The latter are by far the most profitable to play with in limit games – by failing to understand how much more they should be calling in limit they leave themselves wide open to attack from better players. Always remember that limit is a game about extracting as much value from your hand as possible, and saving as many bets as you can when it looks like you are behind. You have to be extremely sure that you are best if you are going to fold when being offered ten to one or greater odds – and as a result both your bluffs and your calls have to be adjusted considerably.

Related Strategy

Bluffing – How to Pull the Trigger – Marcus Bateman
PLO Bluffing – Marcus Bateman
No Limit v Fixed Limit: Art v Science – Matthew Pitt
Bankroll management, variance and bluffing – Matthew Pitt

3 Comments to “Betfair | Bluffing in Limit Poker ”

  1. Zero

    Good stuff Marcus. Nice reminders and refreshers for me. Keepem’ coming.

  2. pokermario

    Bluffing in limit poker works best when you have a ‘tight’ image and your opponent is likely to be on a draw that appears to have missed on the end. As in NL Hold ’em its still about having a read on where your opponent is in the hand and what style of player you are up against, so don’t try and bluff that calling station either because they will call you down with any piece. Good luck!

  3. DanM

    So you guys like Marcus’ strategy columns? It occurred to me that we might be lacking a little on-the-table convo here at Pokerati and Marcus’ stuff might be warmly received. (I know my bankroll records concur that I need the help.)