If you are new to Texas hold’em poker, you are probably aware that there are important elements of Texas Holdem strategy that you need to know. You should also be aware that some of the strategies in limit hold’em, where the amount you can bet is fixed, can vary from no limit poker strategy, where you can bet as much as you have at any time.
As a player starting out in limit Texas hold’em, you need to know about hand selection. Hand selection is simply a reference to which types of hands you are going to enter a pot with. Here are some basic do's and don'ts to consider when deciding which hands to play.
Limit Hold’em Hand Selection
1. Play Premium Hands
Limit hold’em is a game of big cards. You should be looking to play big poker hands like high pairs such as AA, KK, QQ or JJ, and hands with two cards in the ace to ten “zone,” such as AK, AQ and KQ. You should give slightly more consideration to hands that are suited (of the same suit) or connected (consecutive or close to consecutive), but mainly you should be looking to play big cards and big pairs.
2. Take Your Position into Consideration
You should be willing to make your starting hand requirements wider the later you are to act in the hand. A hand like AT can get you in a lot of trouble in early position, when it will be tough to determine if a player or players acting after you have an ace with a better kicker (second card) than yours. When they do, it can prove very costly. When they don’t, it may be difficult for you to extract maximum value. On the other hand, in late position, you will get to see how others act before you decide what to do, which will make your decisions easier and make it harder for opponents to put you on a hand. This means there is a wider range of hands that will be profitable late in the hand.
1. Play Hands Just Because They are Suited
Two cards of the same suit may look pretty, but they are usually more trouble than they are worth. The odds of you making a flush by the river with your two suited cards are 15 to 1 against, and your opponents may make it too expensive for you to even get to see the river. Even if you make your flush, if you are not playing premium cards, you may lose to a bigger flush, which can be very costly.
2. Assign Too Much Value to Small Suited Connectors
No limit Texas Holdem players like playing hands like 6s 7s because when they hit, their strength is well disguised, allowing the player holding a hand like this to win a potentially large pot. In a limit game where the bet sizes are fixed, it is hard to build a pot large enough to make up for all the times you play these hands and have to fold, especially if you play them out of position, when heavy betting may force you to give up the hand before you even see a flop or turn.