The game that has made Texas Holdem famous is No Limit Holdem. However, before 2003, the most popular form of Holdem was Limit Holdem. Even now, Limit Holdem is still a popular form of the game. The main reason is due to the fact that the game is a little more controlled and is actually played much differently than NL Holdem. When NL Holdem players move over to play Limit Holdem, they are not sure how to play the game properly and usually end up becoming frustrated when the better player win. Today, let’s look at which poker hands to play in Limit Holdem.
Some hands in NL Holdem and in Limit Holdem are just naturally played fast and for as many raises as you can get in most cases. These would be the best of your big pairs and A-K suited. Aces, kings, queens, and A-K suited are the top four poker hands in both games and you should get as many bets in as possible. Part of the thinking is to thin the field, but also you want to push your edge. Unlike NL Holdem, A-K suited is pushed more than normal due to the fact that you will draw a lot more in Limit Holdem due to having the proper odds to draw, but that is a discussion for another article.
After your biggest pairs, you are looking at A-K offsuit, jacks, and pocket tens. Depending on who you talk to, you may want to put A-Q suited in this category, but I rank it a little weaker. These hands are strong enough to call raises or make an initial raise with. Depending on your table and the players there, you may consider re-raising, but you need to know your competition well to re-raise with these poker hands.
The next set of strong poker hands in Limit Holdem is A-Q suited and unsuited, A-J suited, and pocket nines and eights. These are raising hands if action comes to you but you want to be careful with calling too many raises with these hands. I will call a single raise with these hands unless there are multiple players. If the pot has be three-bet, I will call with these hands if there is at least 6 bets in the pot other than my own. Then you have great odds.
The next two groups of poker hands are those that you are looking to play in middle and later positions at the table. The first group consists of A-J offsuit, A-10 suited, K-Q suited, and pocket fives, sixes, and sevens. If you are in middle or late position, you can raise with these hands, but they are not strong to be calling raises with. The exception is if you are in the big blind. If you are in the blind, then you can call one raise and see a flop. K-Q suited is the weakest of these holdings, I tend to limp in more with this hand than raise with it as it can be relatively weak. It is really more of a drawing hand.
The last groups of poker hands is for late position play. They are A-10 and K-Q unsuited, K-J and Q-J suited, and all remaining small pairs. These are potential raising hands if you are in late position, but you do not want to call a raise with these hands. I make an exception with the small pairs. I might call two bets with a small pair with multiple players in the hopes of hitting a set. Otherwise, I stay out.
In addition to the above grouping of hands, there are a few more speculative play hands that you want to consider for late position or in the blind for loose games. They include K-J and Q-J unsuited. K-10, Q-10, and J-10 suited and unsuited, and any suited ace. The suited variants of your two big cards are naturally better. Remember, these are late position or blind hands. You want to primarily limp in with these hands or call one bet from the big blind if there are at least 2 to 3 other players in the pot. The suited ace we really are looking to get lucky with either a flush draw or some type of junky two pair hand. In the cases of all these poker hands, you either want to pick up some type of draw or connect strong on the flop. Otherwise, you will be getting out of the hand.
If you haven’t been able to discern it already, Limit Holdem allows for a lot more action than its NL Holdem counterpart. You will also experience more bad beats in the game since you cannot force people out of hands as easily as in NL. However, for the solid and patient player, this game provides great benefits. NL players switching to this game tend to play too aggressively and end up bleeding chips. Tight is the right way to go in Limit Holdem and is where a majority of the money is won.