Top pro advice for better no limit Texas hold’em play

In tournament poker when you get short stacked you are ultimately looking to get your chips in as quickly as possible and to increase your stack. Unless you have a premium hand then you are going to be getting your stack into the middle with a weak holding. The best way to increase your stack is to give yourself two ways to win in no limit Texas hold’em tournaments. The only way that you can give yourself two ways to win is by shoving all in as the first player to speak. In tournament poker then you are always better off shoving with a hand like 7c-2d than calling with Ac-5c. At least when you shove then your opponent can fold and you can win the blinds and even if you are called then you can still outdraw your opponent.

Same theory applied to cash games

These days in online no limit Texas hold’em the average cash game is tighter than what it used to be some years ago. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as you adjust your strategy. If for example you are playing in full ring no limit Texas hold'em cash games and the see the flop percentage is in the low twenties then this indicates that your implied odds have been significantly reduced. So fold equity increases in importance. Let us look at how you could play a typical hand like 2c-2d in early position in both types of games.

Greater implied odds

Let us say that one game is very loose and passive meaning that many players limp and see a flop. In this type of no limit Texas hold’em cash game then you would be correct to limp in and see a flop because your implied odds are so good. In fact even if the hand is raised then your implied odds would still be very good and a call would be warranted. However if we change the overall game dynamic to one where you are playing in a game that is very tight-aggressive then suddenly limping from early position with pocket deuces is no longer a good play. You will likely be raised by a player to your left and will have a weak hand out of position. If you play fit or fold in this situation then over the long term you will find that you are simply spewing money.

Understanding game strategy

In all games then for every strategy there is a counter strategy and that also applies to no limit Texas hold’em. If the game is very tight-aggressive then you need to loosen your play and become loose-aggressive to beat the game for the maximum amount. Becoming tight-aggressive yourself will mainly miss out on the bonanza that other experienced players will benefit from. Only by understanding game strategy can you then begin to see what the correct strategy is to play certain hands.

It is far better in no limit Texas hold’em cash games to simply fold the pocket deuces in early position or to raise with them than it is to limp and then play fit or fold. Placing money into the pot repeatedly and then folding is simply not a good poker strategy.