I played in a Limit Holdem MTT last night for the first time and I have some queries for limit experts.
I understand that getting sucked out happens much more frequently in limit than it does in NL, so it seems that drawing hands like middle suited connectors are more valuable in this game. Is that a safe assumption? Ive also noticed that people tend to hold on tightly to their flush draws, and was wondering what was the best way to go about getting someone to release it, i.e. would it be worth risking a check-raise on the turn or flop, if there are 2, 3, or 4 people in the pot.
For example, on one hand I had pocket 9s in MP, it is folded to me and i raise I get 2 callers behind me. Flop brings a 9 and 2 hearts, so i bet, and both of them call. The turn brought nothing, so I bet again, the guy immediatley after me calls, and the other folds. The river brings his heart, At this point I KNOW Im beat, so I check and he bets, and I call just to see his flush. Im wondering if anybody feels that any of these plays were incorrect. Again, I know that most of the time he will miss his flush, and I will benefit, this just wasnt one of those times, but I was wondering if a check somwhere along the line would've helped out. Does the leader just want to jam the pot every time. I would think even with the nuts, slow playing would be a poor choice in most situations.
I hope this opens the door to a good discussion, because I would like to get a range of opinions on this. It seems that there aren't many discussions about the intricacies of limit and how they vary from NL.
...so it seems that drawing hands like middle suited connectors are more valuable in this game...
I disagree very strongly with this statement. They are less valuable because you can't win nearly as big of a pot when they hit. The beauty of suited connectors and semiconnectors in NL is that they can be very deceptive and you can thereby get people to call very large bets sometimes when you have the nuts. I still play suited connectors in limit, but I'm a lot more careful about how much I put in preflop with them, depending on how many are in the hand with me.
That said, this is definitely an interesting topic that I'd like to get further into. Cal and I have both been quite successful in limit, as are a number of the top players who post on this site. There are key differences that NL tournament players have to get used to and make adjustments. For one, you can NEVER expect to be able to bet someone off a flush draw...I mean never. If it happens, it's because the pot is tiny and the player is good enough to know it's not worth it to chase---extremely rare.
Most players chase regardless of the cost and regardless of how many actual outs they have. Here's an example. A player has 66. The flop comes 78Q. There's a bet and a call and this player calls. The turn comes 5. 6 6 guy checks, flop bettor bets again, other caller RAISES. At this point, 6 6 has to call TWO BIG BETS to see the river card, and only 3 cards can really feel safe--the 3 4's that aren't spades. If a spade comes, he has to be worried his straight is no good, and if a 9 comes, it's possible (although unlikely) that someone has T J. It's also a small possibility that someone already has a straight and that his only chance is for a split. Either way, it's an absolute MUST FOLD situation for a smart player. It's also a situation in which at least 90% of players will call. They just can't stand to fold a draw, even if they have a meager chance of hitting, have to pay a lot to see the river, and their draw might not even be good.
You have to deal with these things and turn them into a situation that's profitable for you. Rather than cursing him for not folding there, try to keep in mind that this player, by calling, is making a HUGE long-run mistake. Force people to make mistakes such as these, and you will be a winning limit player. Sure, you'll get sucked out sometimes, even often, but if they're paying excessive amounts for their draws when you have a hand, in the long run, you make a hefty profit. What the guy did, raising on the turn, is the exact sort of play I like--force someone to call multiple big bets on the turn for their draw. A flush draw with 9 live outs will still only hit about 20% of the time on the river. Unless there are 10 big bets already in the pot (rare), his call is a losing play. Even if it's a winning play, you're still getting as much money in as possible when you're far ahead in the hand. That's the key, along with understanding pot odds and applying them to your decisions.
Adam, I LOOOOOVE this post, I am not a great limit player, so I love reading about it. However, I have a question. open ended straight with no flush possible (yet), one card to come, hes gonna hit about 16% of the time (8 outs*1card to come)2=16% or about 1 in 6....which is exactly the pot odds he is getting...and actually if the first guy calls the raise, he is getting better than 6:1....so why not call here? (or did I do the math wrong....I am using the formula above.
The problem is many of his outs aren't necessarily outs....in fact, based on the play of the hand, I would certainly not assume by any means that the 4 or 9 was an out. Those cards put a 3 flush on the board and it's possible, very likely in fact, that someone is drawing for a spade flush. Also, the other 3 9's are all cards that leave the possibility out of a higher straight. What if one of the guys betting has something like TJ? Very possible...flops gutshot and spade draw, you better believe they're betting/raising. If the odds are against calling 2 big bets here, you'd want to make sure you could win big on the river if you hit, right? Well what worse hands are going to be betting into you, raising, or even calling your bets if you hit your straight? The only time you get more than a little action (a call) if you hit is if someone has a better hand. If they either have a higher straight or a flush, you better believe they're betting/raising, and then you're stuck putting a lot of money in when you're beat.
As a general rule i don't like 1 card draws (you have a 6 and 5 7 8 is on the board or you have A of spades and there are 3 spades out) because it always leaves the possibility that someone already has a made hand, in which case you're drawing to very few outs (or sometimes no outs, depending on the draw). If you're going to be drawing, you should at least be able to have relative confidence that your hand will be best if it hits, and that you can bet and raise freely if that happens.
Thanks a lot Adam, I appreciate any advice that you or anyone can give on this topic or Limit HoldEm in general. I'm looking to expand my poker horizons to a variety of games, I feel that being a better limit player can only further my understanding of poker in general therby making a better player.
more advice/criticism welcome
Just to add on to this, the worst move by the player with 66 was being the second caller on that flop (even if he hits the two outer his set card completes an open-ended straight). I see this all the time in low and mid limit games, though, so its a very realistic example.
'I understand that getting sucked out happens much more frequently in limit than it does in NL, 1. so it seems that drawing hands like middle suited connectors are more valuable in this game. Is that a safe assumption? 2. Ive also noticed that people tend to hold on tightly to their flush draws, and was wondering what was the best way to go about getting someone to release it, i.e. would it be worth risking a check-raise on the turn or flop, if there are 2, 3, or 4 people in the pot.'
1. This is totally true in lower limit games. You will usually get many people in each flop if not family pots almost everyhand. Dont get me wrong, playing stronger hands is always what you want to do but drawing hands such as 89s are great for family pots. If you are looking for a good book on low limit holdem then read Lee Jones book.
2. Most people in lower limit holdem games do not know they are making a mistake by holding a mediocre hand until the river hoping to catch their 4 outer and are getting terrible pot odds in the process. If the pot is huge then it is nearly impossible to get your average weekend joe to drop a hand if he has any chance of winning or catching something at the end.
The only time I can remember being able to make people drop hands when I needed them to or even wanted them to was in a short handed 4/8 limit game at about 4am and it was the best feeling ever because its so rare to bluff people in those types of games but they would only stay in the hand if they had flopped at least top pair and when they did you could tell (sitting up straight, eyes open wide....) and when they didnt, that pot was mine!
Going back to my trip 9s vs flush draw... Would checking on the flop be an awful idea??? Here's what lead me to this thought..
A. He would call my bet on the flop anyway, so it isnt scaring him off, though it is putting more money in the pot.
B. Either him or the other guy might bet, giving me a chance to raise and really put the screws on him.
C. If it is checked and the turn is blank, now the bets have increased, and he is much less likely to hit his flush with only one card remaining. his odds would be begging for him to fold.
D. If the flush does come on the turn, I save a bet.
I guess this line of thinking may be too timid. I would be playing like I don't want him in the pot, when in fact, I do, since I have a distinct advantage, and giving drawers a free card is a mortal sin.
Please feel free to commend or rip apart this play. I'm seeking help
You're thinking in terms of best way to try and win the pot, when you should be thinking in terms of how you can make the most money in the long run. 2/3 of the time he's not gonna hit his flush, and believe me, most are gonna chase regardless of the size of the pot. Get as much money from him as you can every time and sometimes you'll lose. Sometimes you'll win a nice big pot when the board pairs and he doesn't understand the possibility that his flush is beat. But most of the time you'll just win when he folds on the river or calls because he hits bottom pair at the end and decides (conveniently) you were bluffing the whole time. My favorite, personally, is when I know someone's on a draw and just bet the whole way with nothing, only to see them fold at the end. Because these players just call on draws and fold if they miss, you take every pot they miss, regardless of what you have.