1/3 No-Limit Texas Hold'em Strategy
By Loki Luchs of Predictem.com
For the novice who enjoys playing low-limit no-limit poker, the most common form is a 1/2 structure. The typical buy-in for this game is $100-200. While it's not a game that is going to be a sole source of income for most players, for a good low-limit player, it's a game that can easily create a real bankroll. Most of the strategies needed to win are the basics, so you don't have to worry about too many players attempting subtle or overly-complicated plays. Play a basic tight-aggressive game, watch for weak/strong tells, and then the money should make its way to you.
Recently, however, I've noticed more poker rooms getting away from the 1/2 structure and moving to a 1/3 structure. This may not seem like a big deal, but there's a huge difference in the small change this makes to the game. For most players that are used to the 1/2 game, you may see that the 1/3 game is a great improvement for several reasons. Early on, I developed a 3 stage system that you can use to single-handedly dominate the table.
1. Once you're in a 1/3 game take advantage of position raises. When you're in late position, you'll see three or four limpers waiting to see a flop with their rag hands. It doesn't really matter what two cards you have are, you can throw in a raise to $15 and feel pretty secure that most of them will fold. (The main difference in doing this at a 1/3 is that every successful win will net an extra $4-5 per raise, which now makes up for the times it doesn't work.) This move doesn't seem like much, but if you do this successfully twice an hour, you're making an extra $30 an hour!
2. When you're at a table with a few rocks (tight/weak) players, it often whittles them down faster than they would have otherwise. The advantage is that you're going to see is that with every hand that the rock limps or posts a blind, they're taking an extra dollar out of their fortress. Many rocks will buy in with a short stack to lower their chances of losing money (incidently, this also lowers how much they can win), but by giving a good player to steal more of their blinds, they won't get to see a flop with their small pair or A/J. They don't share the same motivation in their style, so they'll fold and quickly be on the ropes and making more desperate plays.
3. The best part about taking out the rocks a little quicker means that you rotate them out for the next player who will hopefully be looser. These calling stations can find more justification to be in a hand with you. Once a table loosens up, you might be getting 3-4 calls on a pot-sized opening. Slow down and only start raising the premium hands. Suddenly, the 5BB raise, that would be folded around in 1/2 no-limit, will start making $60-100 pots preflop. Don't chase to the river if you encounter resistance or have a bad flop, but if you're in the lead, your opponents will chase you until they are broke!
If your local card room only offers a 1/2 no limit game, suggest to the management that they should change to a 1/3 game. It will loosen up the tight players and make the loose players want to play every pot with you. Follow these simple moves on the table and you'll see a difference in your results almost immediately!
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