The nature of Limit poker opens the door to poor or foolish play. Calling an extra bet for value seems to be the main culprit. After all, it's just one bet right? Wrong!
Calling an extra bet just because of value, can become expensive over a period of time. For example - you call a raise with JQ suited and now find that another player behind you makes it three bets. The initial raiser calls and you have no problem in calling the extra bet. That may seem fine. However, you are placing yourself in what could be a difficult and costly situation. Even if you flop top pair, your hand may not be good enough against a raise and re-raise. But since it's Limit, you will probably call all the way and that one extra bet has become five or six. It is therefore important for you to avoid such situations by being selective with your starting hands and your position.
The most difficult part of limit is saving the extra bets when you are dealt a big hand to begin with. For example, JJ QQ and KK are three of the biggest hands that you can be dealt. However, they can also be the most costly as they are difficult to get away from - even if you are 95% convinced that you are up against a bigger hand. Learning to throw away these hands when logic suggests that it's wise to do so - maybe the difference between winning and losing a tournament. Although this will come from experience, it's wise to learn this discipline as soon as possible.
Extracting extra bets from you opponents is the fun and profitable part of Limit poker. It's also an art-form that needs to be developed if you are serious in your desire to improve as a player.
The opportunities for this arise many times during play; it's just a case of you being aware of the right situations. This is very important in multi-way action pots as that extra bet can become three or four. For example - it is four-way action and you raise with JJ from the small blind and have been lucky enough to flop top trips. Since you are first to act, try betting on the flop and see what the others do. If you feel that the player to your left has connected with flop or has some kind of hand; try a check-raise after the turn. This can be very profitable if the other players call. If they happen to check also, you may well get more action after the river card. Irrespective of the outcome, you are at least varying your style and confusing the other players as to how you play.
Another way of extracting extra bets is to show weakness on the flop by checking and just calling any bets. This can also open the door to many extra bets after the turn or and river. It's really down to how loose your opponents are playing and how alert you are to such opportunities.
From the next issue, we will move on from Limit to that of No Limit Holdem. The focus will be on the various stages of tournament play and how to approach your first game at the local casino.
Until then, play well get lucky and enjoy life!
Peter "The Poet" Costa