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No Limit Hold'em Strategy: The Basics

The “Cadillac” of Poker

Everybody wants in on No-Limit Texas Hold’em.

It’s the “Cadillac” of poker, according to poker legend Doyle Brunson. The game everyone is playing, the game they play to decide the “World Champion of Poker,” the game that dominates televised poker coverage.

And for good reason. To win at No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker, you’ve got to gamble. Push your chips in aggressively and play. It makes for great games, and great TV.

If you’re looking to get in on the action yourself, a couple of simple strategy lessons are critical to getting you started on the right foot.

The Basics

If you already have the basic rules down, but are a bit fuzzy on strategy, these are a couple of key ideas that will keep you competitive as you learn to play No-Limit:

1. The name of the game is tight/aggressive.

There are lots of strong No-Limit Hold’em players, with a wide range ways to play poker, but most of them can be loosely categorized as “tight/aggressive.” Which means they’re very selective about the hands they play, but when they do play, they play aggressively; lots of bets, and lots of raises, with very little checking or folding.

The idea of online casino gambling? Put pressure on the rest of the table, and give yourself the best chance to win the pot. Get people to fold early, or keep putting more money into the pot you’re likely to win with your strong cards. If you generally stick to playing strong hands, it also helps you get away with playing “crazy” hands from time to time, as your hand will usually be “disguised” from your opponents. As you get better and better, you’ll even be able to sense the strength of your opponent’s hand after the flop and get away from being beat, even when you hit your own hand. This is true for poker games online as well as live poker games.

2. It’s all about position.

Position in No-Limit Hold’em makes all the difference. Put your money in the pot from an “early” position with marginal cards and the person acting after you shoves all their chips in the middle, you immediately have a tough decision to make that can end your game right there. Or, if you have a big hand in a late position, you can play it smooth and keep getting money in the pot without alerting them to the strength of your hand.

Position is information, and in No Limit Hold'em you need to take advantage of it. Play a much wider range of hands in late position, and try to only play very strong cards if you’re acting first. Stealing the pot is also much easier in late position, since most players have already tipped the strength of their hands by the time it gets to you. Keep in mind, though, that other players realize this, and sometimes the blinds will play back at you because of it.

So there you go; take the basics and get in a game. Remember to play with confidence and a cool head, take a tight/aggressive approach and tailor your play to your opponents and your position in the hand.

You’ll be surprised how well you do.

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