No Limit Texas Hold’em Strategy Guide

Texas Hold’em Poker strategies can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. For this in-depth poker guide, we’re going to focus on No Limit (NL) Texas Hold’em in full ring games (6-10 players). We’ll also discuss the difference between a good No Limit and Fixed Limit strategy, along with key elements, advice, pre-flop decisions, common mistakes and much more.

No Limit Texas Hold’em

No Limit Hold’em has become the most popular form of cash poker games, primarily due to its overwhelming presence in poker tournaments. Every online poker room has its variable list of poker ring games and tournament rosters, but all of them include NL Texas Hold’em.

This is not a poker game for beginners. NL Texas Hold’em requires a tight/aggressive poker strategy; a strategy that takes patience and discipline to pull off. You’ll also need to learn how to read your opponents. A NL Hold’em poker strategy takes time and dedication to master. Novice poker players would do well to stick with Fixed Limit games, or low-cost NL Hold’em tournaments, until they become more experienced.

A tight/aggressive poker strategy is not the only way to win at NL Texas Hold’em, but it is the most reliable. If you bring a large sum of cash to the table, you may be able to win out playing every single hand, but folding 85% of the time can be just as profitable, and doesn’t require the same size bankroll. Below are a few of the key maneuvers players can make.

No Limit Texas Hold’em – Drawing Free Cards

From late or last betting position, you can often see a free card by Raising after the Flop. Any player who stays in the pot will be encouraged to Check on the Turn because they want to know what you’re going to do before they pay to see the River. This gives you the chance to see how the Turn has helped you and, if not, check back to see the River for free.

No Limit Texas Hold’em – Semi-Bluffs

A Bluff is when you bet/raise with nothing to show for it. A Semi-Bluff is when your hand is not that good, but has a lot of potential to improve through multiple Outs. In this case, you can place a semi-bluff bet/raise. The idea is to win the pot immediately as other players are scared out of the hand, but should they call, you’re not left dead in the water. As we discussed earlier, having 9+ Outs it’s the best Draw hand, and warrants a semi-bluff depending on your opponents’ actions.

No Limit Texas Hold’em – Check-Raise

The Check-Raise is the most fearsome maneuver in poker, striking fear into the hearts of its enemies, and gaining incredible profitability for its user. The idea is to Check to your opponents when you’re holding a winning hand in the hopes that they will bet back to you. When they do, Raise. This move is highly effective because if you had Raised to begin with, they would probably have Folded. Instead, they’ve already placed money on the line. Many times, they will Fold out at this point, but if not, you’ve learned a lot about the strength of their hand.

No Limit VS Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em Poker Strategy

The biggest difference between a NL and FL Texas Hold’em strategy is position and hand values. In NL, position can win a large stack of chips by trapping a player into Folding. In FL, this becomes less profitable since you’ll only be stealing a few bets. It could actually turn profit to losses since often the opponent chooses not to Fold.

Some of the best Starting Hands in FL Hold’em lose their value in the NL variety, such as A-K, A-Q and K-Q. In NL, these hands will usually win a small pot, but lose to large pots more frequently. In the same token, Pairs gain value in NL Hold’em because you can double your stack if the Boards Sets your pair. The highest Pairs, A-A and K-K, become excellent trap cards for stealing pots from your opponents.

No Limit Texas Hold’em Chip Stack Responsibility

Always keep track of your chip stack in respect to your opponent’s stack. Every stack has a direct impact on how you and your opponents play the game.

For example, you hold $400 and your opponent has only $20, with blinds of $1/$2. You’re the big blind (late position) and your opponent is in first (early position/under the gun). He moves all-in, and everyone else folds. You have JT – a reasonable hand, but nothing too weighty. What do you do? This is a clear cut Fold situation. You are probably second best to begin with, and it just isn’t profitable to risk throwing an additional $18 into the pot in the hopes of winning $20.

However, if your opponent had the same chip stack as you, $400, it may be profitable to call since you would be pursuing $400, not just $20. Observance of your opponent can also help here, since you would already have a good idea of how he plays pre-flop and post-flop

No Limit Texas Hold’em – Pot Odds

Pot Odds are what a poker player uses to determine the expected value of the pot, which tells a player how much they should bet in relation to their odds of winning. For example, if there’s $10 in the pot, and you bet $1, the pot odds are 10 to 1. Now determine how many Outs you have. Every Out is worth approximately 4% odds of getting the card you need to better your hand.

Let’s say you Flop a Flush Draw in Spades, with 2 in the Hole and two on the Board. There are 13 Spades in the Deck, minus the two you’ve seen. That leaves 9 Outs, multiplied by 4 is approximately 36% Pot Odds (actual Pot Odds 35% - see Pot Odds table below). That results in somewhat higher than a 1 in 3 chance of hitting the Flush, with the Turn and River cards both coming.

Your Pot Odds match your chances of hitting the Flush, so you can bet confidently up to 1/3 of the pot size. (i.e. there’s $100 in the pot, bet up to $35).

The table below depicts the Pot Odds in relation to how many Outs you have, based on 47 unseen cards in the deck after the Flop.

1 - 4.3%
2 - 8.4%
3 - 12.5%
4 - 16.5%
5 - 20.4%
6 - 24.1%
7 - 27.8%
8 - 31.5%
9 - 35.0%
10 - 38.4%
11 - 41.7%
12 - 45.0%
13 - 48.1%
14 - 51.2%
15 - 54.1%
16 - 57.0%
17 - 59.8%
18 - 62.4%
19 - 65.0%
20 - 67.5%