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No Limit Betting Strategy

Article By: RuffPoker.com

When it comes to no-limit poker, you can be one bet away from risking all your money and walking home broke. Because of this, no-limit games require discipline, knowledge and, above all, a plan.

The idea of playing in a game that has no betting limits is very appealing to some people. In these games, using your chips to do the talking instead of your hand is often a very important part of your game, but there is also a downside: losing all your chips.

Knowing the basics of starting hands, pot odds and position are important, but if you don’t combine that knowledge with the ability to make good bets, all your expertise may be useless. Knowing how much to bet is vital, but you also have to how and when to bet to be effective. Let’s take a look at some of the basics:

Tight Betting:

When you are playing tight, you want your bets to count. Many people think that playing tight means you make a lot of calls instead of raises. Wrong. Being tight with your bets means you make fewer bets, but the bets you make are generally larger. For example, if you are in the early stages of a tournament and you are dealt 10-10, you will probably bet 3 – 4 times the big blind. A bet of this size will not get you into trouble (unless you are short stacked), but it will put enough money into the pot to ensure that the callers will either be holding an over pair (unlikely) or a hand like A-K, A-Q. Then, if the flop comes off with an A or K, you will be in a better position to judge the other player’s strength by watching how they bet.

Position Betting:

When you are either on the button or a few spots behind it, you can afford to make more and slightly bigger bets. Though you shouldn’t do it too often, position plays can be a great way to take down a quick pot or two. If you see the table acting weak (a lot of limp-ins or baby-raises) a late position raise of 3-4 times the big blind is usually enough to weed out most, if not all the competition. Paired with a semi-bluff, this strategy can yield big rewards.

Betting Pairs:

One of the best betting plays in no-limit Texas hold 'em is the pair bet. If you are in a hand and pair is dealt on the flop (a board pair, not a pair of one of your hole cards), it is almost always a good idea to be the first to bet if you get the chance. Why? It’s simple. If a pair comes up on the board and you are the first one to bet at it, everyone else will have to ask themselves whether or not you have a set. Unless they are sitting on a set themselves, or have a pair underneath, it will be very difficult for them to make the call. Even if they do, you can be relatively certain they are sitting on a good hand, and thus be in a much better position to judge the play you should make on the turn and the river.

The semi-bluff:

Sometimes you are at a table where you have good position, a strong table reputation and the blinds have risen to the level where stealing pots is going to place you deeper into the money. In these kinds of instances, when you are dealt a normally mediocre hand, you can make a strong bet at the pot and usually take it down. This strategy also works well when you are nearing a new tournament payment level. While the other people are trying to hang on and make it to the bigger money, you can use the semi-bluff to take down a few pots and strengthen your chip stack. Even if someone calls you, your cards still offer a decent chance of you having the stronger hand. Paired with the knowledge that the caller is probably sitting on a strong hand also makes it easy to decide what action to take after the flop.