Thursday, December 24, 2009

Analyzing NLHE: TAP Concepts 55-56

From No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 55: Unlike limit, limping first in on the button is frequently correct.

In a pure NL holdem game, I think this is probably right, mostly for the reasons given by the authors. Specifically, I agree that making the blinds fold is not as profitable in NL, because the blinds are much smaller compared to the normal raise size and final pot size. This probably makes some hands worth limping with, but only against certain opponents.

In practice, however, I practically never limp first on the button. This is largely because of the way pots are raked in my normal game (and most other games in Los Angeles). The casino will take out $1 if there is no flop, but they take $6 if there is a flop ($1 of which is for the jackpot drop). Winning the pot after the flop therefore costs me $5, which is a significant amount when we're looking at a profit of only $10 or $20.

Concept No. 56: Pot odds (as opposed to implied odds) matter a lot less in deep stack no limit than in limit.

Yes. This is central to the difference in the strategy for the two games. Bet sizes in no-limit tend to be much larger in proportion to the pot than in limit, so future bets will have a much larger impact. Since pot odds do not take future betting into account, they aren't as relevant in no limit poker. In no-limit, it's important to try to estimate implied odds rather than relying on pot odds to help make your decisions.

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