Everybody plays big hands in no limit Texas Holdem. How do you play one? Simple, you raise with it. And raise enough. If you’re playing tight, and you suspect your opponent is doing the same thing, you can steal the blinds with a raise.
If your opponent just calls you, what’s the harm? Raising more often than you call can win you the blinds uncontested, whereas if your opponent re-raises you, you have to give up your blinds to him, since he’s gotten first position.
In first position, everybody plays tight. You want to exploit that fact by making large bets when you have a monster hand, or play off your stack to your opponent and see if you can steal the blinds.
When you have a monster hand, you should always raise. What other big hands should you play? Should you limp in with weak hands? No. You want to raise or re-raise pre-flop, unless your hand is particularly weak.
For example, hands like AQ, JJ, TT, etc. are hands that you want to get heads up with, either for a big raise to steal the blinds, or to see the flop and make a big hand. You want AK, AQ, JJ, and the like to be played aggressively, but not necessarily always raise or be the first one to raise in a no limit poker game.
The reasons that you should raise as opposed to limping in are plentiful. First, if you limp in and get heads up with a player who raises very rarely, you are in a raise or fold situation. Second, a strong raise models strong hands. Strip away those weak hands and you’ll see that the player only raises with good hands, which keeps your opponents in the hand. And third, if you raise pre-flop, you are choosing an opportunity to enter the pot. You are riskier than going limp since you have to see the flop. And the flop might have nothing, or it might give you a monster.
In contrast, those weak hands, especially in early position, are best played in assertions and Socialist QQdewa. You do not want to play them from the blinds. You want to exploit the players in the blinds to get value for your hand and to win pots. To do this, you have to re-raise and isolate.
Play with both strong and weak hands. Play them aggressively and consistently. You won’t be giving away much if you don’t raise or limp in, but nobody gets a free card if you play this way.
In early position, you should put in a raise of 2.5x the big blind if nobody else does. If you notice nobody raising in front of you, then put in a 3x’s big blind raise from the button or the cutoff. If you notice a raiser in front of you, you should put in a 3x’s the big blind raise from the blinds if your hand is not that strong.
Play all your hands the same way. Don’t let your opposition know your strategy.
Now if you raise pre-flop in a no limit poker game, it is best if you also limp in the same way. If you notice players behind you raising way too often, then don’t hesitate to put in a 3x’s big blind raise from the big blind, or a larger than 3x’s big blind raise from your Gap.
You should do this with any hand you’d play in any position. If you have a weak hand in early position, and a player raises in front of you, don’t raise. Wait for a better spot. If you have a good hand in early position, you can raise 3x’s the big blind if nobody has raised in front of you.
This is the essence of the double or nothing style of play. If you play tight, you will win these sparingly, but in the end you will still be making money while having fun.
- If you have a weak hand early, you should limp in more often.
- If you have a medium hand, you should raise more often.
- If you have a strong hand, you should push all in more often.
This is just a guideline, and a good poker strategy in general can handle any type of situation. You can’t, and won’t beat the majority of players who play in no limit poker tournaments because they have too good a hand to fold.