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No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker Strategy Tips

No Limit Texas Hold'em poker is considered by many, even some of the professionals, to be the Cadillac of all poker games. The skill involved is tremendous, and even experienced professionals admit they learn continually at No-Limit Hold'em tables. Just don't let this scare you because No-Limit Hold'em is, perhaps, the most fun of all the poker choices. It can be profitable; at times, even beginners can really rake in the chips.

After playing No-Limit online a great deal, players note that the keys to winning at No-Limit are knowledge of the game and the ability to adapt to an opponents' knowledge level. You need to know what your skills are and what stages of the game you have mastered. Once you realize how you are good at No-Limit, you can apply this to the game, watching for others at your No-Limit Hold'em table who play badly.

Let's divide the skills required for No-Limit into several stages. After mastering each of these stages, you can expect to see an increase in your No-Limit profit potentials.

Pot Odds
You need to understand the odds if you call a bet with a draw hand. Since you can determine the size of the bet because it is not fixed as it is in Limit games, you should determine you are getting good odds or giving good odds to someone else.

For example, when calling an un-raised pot pre-flop holding the 5 of Hearts and the 5 of Spades, the odds are good. If you hit a set, you can anticipate making a lot of money because people will not expect it and will call with top pairs. But, let's say you have a flush draw after the turn and the pot is $10. Someone bets $20 all-in and you are getting really awful odds. You have roughly a one in five chance of hitting your draw on the river and you would need to bet $20 to potentially win $50.

This sounds pretty basic but many No-Limit players have not mastered this crucial stage of the game. If you are a little vague about pot odds, don't worry because many others are just as confused by them and many of them don't even realize it.

Knowing the Differences Between Limit and No-Limit
Check-raising for value is far less valuable when playing No-Limit than when playing Limit because you may be giving your opponent a free card which can be deadly. In Limit poker, if you have the second best hand, you lose a little but in No-Limit, you could lose your entire stack.

Betting is much better than calling when playing in No-Limit games. When you bet, there are two ways to win: if you show the better hand or if your opponent folds. If you call, you can only win if you have a better hand than all of your opponents. If you bet, you get to determine the bet size, plus you get to determine the pot odds. If you just call, you are having to accept someone else's odds.

When you bet, you force other players to pay off when you have a good hand. If you call, you have to hope someone will willingly pay you off. Aggression is why tight-passive players can win a lot more at Limit than No-Limit.

Quick Adjustment
Different types of poker games require different amounts of aggression. Short handed games require one to be looser and more aggressive. When you're up against many loose opponents, you must tighten up and wait until you have a strong hand. In general, the opposite of what the game is does well. If the game is loose, tighten up. If the game is tight, take advantage of this fact and steal pots.

You must adjust to opponents' qualities. When up against weak players, simply giving them bad pot odds and taking money from them a bit at a time works well. If you are up against stronger players, you will have to set some traps.

Reading Skills
Getting an idea of what cards your opponents hold is very important. This requires time and lots of experience. To improve your reading skills, ask yourself these three questions when someone makes or calls a bet:

 - What do I think he has?
 - What does he likely think I have?
 - What does he think that I think he has?

Psychology and Traps
Once you hold that whopper hand and your opponent also has a good hand, what's the very best way to take his money? Learning to get out of and set traps can be very difficult and experience is required in this department.

Game psychology and traps are used to manipulate those three questions mentioned earlier in your favor. For example, if you over-bet the pot with a flush draw, then check when you do hold the flush, your opponent will either fall for the trap thinking you had top pair or your opponent will realize the trap and check-fold to you on river. The slow play in this case is used to manipulate the variable of "what does he think I have"?

Generally, this sort of psychology in the game is to used against good players who are masters of the first four steps listed here. Against weaker players, you have to build a good hand and extract money out of them a little at a time because they only play their cards and don't worry much about what you might have in your hand.
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