Starting hands in Fixed Limit Hold’em

More than ten years ago, poker players first learned the fixed limit version of Texas Holdem and only then did they start playing no-limit cash games and tournaments. So you could first gain experience and improve their game. The main reason for this was that Fixed Limit Hold’em at that time was the best poker variant in casinos. As the poker boom began, no-limit hold’em quickly became the most popular one, as Hold’em tournaments were seen on TV and pushed by all media. To be able to play like a pro one should master both variants. However, with the increasing popularity of H.O.R.S.E. and other mixed-game events, Fixed Limit Holdem is catching the eye, especially for players who want to learn to play better.

Compared to No Limit, Fixed Limit is much more structured and mathematical, which is especially visible in the selection of starting hands. The art of making small pairs or suited connectors big hands is virtually non-existent in Fixed Limit, though there are situations in which such hands are played. While monster pairs such as A-A, K-K and Q-Q are excellent starting hands in each variant, high limit cards such as A-K, A-Q and K-Q are played much more frequently as they are much stronger. Of course, you need special skills to play each type of hand and the position, as in any poker variant, determines how you play. But unlike No Limit, the fixed limit is much less bluffing.

Monster Pocket Pairs

Especially with Fixed Limit it is always right to raise or re-raise with these starting hands, no matter in what position. While many players limp these hands under the gun, Fixed Limit is a downside to not raising those hands. Here you should limp them only to vary his game and confuse the opponents. With No Limit Texas Holdem you can limp these starting hands three times out of ten, with Fixed Limit you should do this only once. Limping works better on very aggressive or short handed tables, basically it’s always better to reduce the field with a raise. Never limp with Q-Q under the gun. Like No Limit, J-J and T-T are hard to play hands.

Medium pocket pairs

They are often worth a raise, but at least as often you should fold them. For example, if you raise from middle position to 8-8 and they are called from the button and the big blind re-raises, the hand is worth nothing. Even if you were up against hands like A-Q and A-K, they are behind in the combination of these hands. The re-raise from the big blind is most likely an overpair to your pair. Raise again to push the call from the game button is unlikely to work. It’s better to call to see if you hit your pair on the flop. However, you should consider folding that hand after the flop, except against aggressive players.

Small pocket pairs

The small pairs are usually folded in early position. In pots with many players it is difficult to earn money. Raise just to cause confusion, or to vary their game. Avoid limping with these cards, which is what makes Fixed Limit different from No Limit, where you often try to see the flop cheaply with small pairs. In relation to the blinds, at fixed limit the pot is smaller than no limit and it is less likely to win a big pot with a set. From a late position, you should fold your hands after each raise, unless two players simply called the raise from early position. (In high-stakes games this happens very rarely, in lower stakes and in live tournaments that happens constantly). Again, your chance of winning with small pocket pairs without help is very low and the two cards that help them do not really justify two or more bets to see a flop. If you are not raised preflop you can try to steal the blinds with these hands, but that means you have to react with a raise or a re-raise on the flop; If you only have one more opponent, your chances are only 1: 3 that the flop will continue to help you.

A preflop raise call

If you only call and more than once the hour then you call too much. Better you raise or fold. The problem with this is that only a few hands justify a call, such as: A-Q, 9-9, 10-10. If you are a good player and your opponent also knows what he is doing, make it easy for him to reduce their chips. Just calling with a monster hand like A-A makes sense on an aggressive table; This can go horribly wrong on passive or low to medium stakes tables. Calling with a hand like J-10, a basic rule on No Limit, is not a good move on Fixed Limit unless two or more players are in the pot.

Suited Connectors

These cards are traditionally overvalued at Fixed Limit players. Fold these cards in early position and try later to see the flop cheap. Only exceptionally good players can win money with it.

Play A-K correctly

This hand is played too often by most players. If there are already three or more players in the pot, A-K preflop is usually having problems. They are thus behind A-A, K-K behind and another player could have A-K, another Q-Q or J-J. Players with A-K are in fact only 4 outs and not six. This is not even a coin flip anymore. This means that you should always raise A-K preflop into an un-raised pot – to thin out the opponent’s field.

Position at the table

From a late position it is justified to limp into the pot with mediocre hands. For example, a good fixed-limit player should usually fold A-10 UTG or in early position. From buton or cutoff, you can raise that hand into an un-raised pot. Stealing the blinds is a necessary move in poker, and that means you should do that with hands like K-J, J-10, and Aces. There are also hands with which you should raise in late position, but do not call. Do not rate aces too high without a good position. If you play every ace you get, you will surely lose money.

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