Basic No Limit Poker Strategy

Newbs take note, before you head over to the big folks game at Full Tilt Poker, Stars, or a live game – Turn off the ADHD and read a few a solid poker strategy articles. Your ego AND your poker bankroll will thank you for it later. Just because you’ve seen Gus bluff two blokes off a big hand watching World Poker Tour re-runs doesn’t mean that tactic will work in your particular game, in fact it’s almost guaranteed NOT to work. Why not?

Bluffing in No Limit games is akin to trying to fly – by jumping off a cliff

It would be really cool to fly like Superman, right? Sure it would, what kid didn’t dream of flying around checking things out from 10,000 feet (In my case it was The Greatest American Hero but I digress). The problem is, only a select few superheros and bad guys were ever able to do it. And guess what? They only did it on the big screen or your television.

See a pattern here?

Hopefully you’ve connected the dots and are starting to grasp a fundamental concept of Poker 101 – the bluff is rarely successful when you’re new to the game. This is only compounded when you’re playing Low Limit Hold’em (aka No Fold’em Hold’em) where the odds of getting a guy/girl to lay down a decent hand are about – NIL NADA ZERO. There are certainly good spots to try and bluff a player off a hand but let’s get the basics down first, Tex – no shooting first and asking questions later around, OK?

Poker Crash Course

We will assume that you already know the very basics of Texas Hold’em (the Flop, Turn, River stuff) and perhaps cut your teeth playing some Limit Poker online at a site such as Cake Poker or UB. Now you’re looking to take a stab at the Cadillac of poker (according to my good friend Doyle Brunson) and are ready to feel the rush of playing a game where you can lose your entire stack in one hand or conversely, take another poor saps stack when you hit your Flush on the turn while he makes his top set. The very first thing you need to do is check your wallet, piggy bank, or that sock where you stuff your Poker Bankroll. The size of your bankroll is going to directly determine the type of stakes you begin playing. Got a few hundred in that dirty sock? Then head right over the 200NL table at Full Tilt and have fun!

Hold up Cowboy

Hopefully you kept reading and didn’t take my poor attempt at sarcasm seriously. Proper bankroll sizing is a must and hopefully will keep you from jumping off a bridge or going on Life Tilt if you lose a big hand here and there (it WILL happen, not a matter of it, but when). Assuming you followed my simple little guide below when you bought into the game, you’ll still have enough cash to eat dinner and gas up the car on the ride home. Check it out -

(This chart assumes that you need 300 Big Blinds, the generally accepted average bankroll size among professional players that were asked this question)

.5 / 1 NL = $300.00

1 / 2 NL = $600.00

2 / 4 NL = $1,200.00

3 / 6 NL = $1,800.00

4 /8 NL = $2,400.00

5 / 10 NL = $3,000.00

Yes, I stopped at 5/10 NL Poker because if you’re seriously ready to play at any higher level and have the bankroll you’re either one lucky SOB or your Daddy runs a Hedgefund (guess you’d still be a lucky SOB in that case, too but whatever). ┬áThe gist here is that you at least have the funds to get into the right game and aren’t at risk of losing your entire stash to a bad beat.

So I’m going to assume at this point that you’ve got the ‘roll. You’re now looking to learn a few basic tips that put into practice sot that your bankroll heads north (read: get’s bigger, grows, swells, increases, etc) vs. the alternative. Remember, you don’t want to end up like this guy

Editors note: Here’s a great site to try No Limit Hold’em – collect a great deposit bonus to boot!

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