No Limit Holdem Strategy – 3 Essential Tips for Success

Holdem Strategy ChartIn this article we are going to take a look at an introduction to No Limit Holdem Strategy.

Texas Holdem has quickly become the most played game all over the world.

Even more so, No Limit Texas Holdem has become the game of choice by the majority of poker players and is the game that you will most likely be seen being played in any casino poker room.

Since the game has become so popular knowing some basic Holdem Poker tips will help you to really stand above a lot of other players and help you to win on a more regular basis.

As an introduction to No Limit Texas Holdem Poker strategy here are 3 tips which should form the foundation of your poker strategy.

Tip 1 – Play Tight

This is one of the most basic no limit Texas Holdem tips and the first advice that we give to all new poker players.

Texas Holdem has become popular rather quickly and since all of the big tournaments have recently been televised there is a whole generation of poker players who watch poker on TV and think that they know how to play correctly when in fact they couldn’t be more wrong.

All that these players see on TV are the big “all in” hands and big bluffs – basically they see all the hands with drama in which are good for TV. The TV stations don’t show all of the hands that each player folds because they are focusing on all of the big hands around the tournament, all the “normal” hands get cut and left on the editing room floor.

New players see this and have the perception that every hand they play in should be played in the manner that they have seen on TV, not realising that in between these hands are many hands that are uneventful and just folded without any drama.

So what this leads to at the lower stakes tables, which are full of new players, is a tendency to overplay their hands, place big bets, attempt many bluffs and call bets when they shouldn’t.

The first rule of good strategy then has got to be one that takes advantage of these bad plays… so how do we do that?

We do this by adapting our style to play a tight Texas Holdem strategy, only playing good hands and making sure that when we enter a pot and play a hand then we are in a strong position and ready to punish the bad plays of the beginners.

By doing this you are catching these players in their bluffs and having better hands than they do at showdown because you are playing a tighter and stronger range of hands.

These players are prone to thinking that big bets will win the pot very frequently and are not aware of their table image. By identifying these players and playing your strong hands against them you will soon emerge victorious and be collecting their chips in front of you at the table.

Tip 2 – Be Aggressive

Another type of player that you will commonly see a lot is the “loose passive” player. These players play a lot of hands (the “loose”) but are quite weak and easily pushed off the hand (the “passive”).

They don’t like to fold before the flop as they want to see if they can make a hand and when they do they want to get to showdown as cheap as possible to see if they have won.

It is simple maths and probability that by playing so many hands they can’t connect with the flop all the time, in fact we can go so far as to say that they will miss the flop and not make a hand the majority of the time.

By being aggressive against these players you punish them for playing so many hands and calling so lightly. These players are very good to build your bankroll against with a tight aggressive style.

You should be betting often against these types of players even if you have not made a hand to take advantage of the fact that they will most likely fold the majority of the times that they don’t make a hand either.

This leads us to a new poker term, fold equity, which is one of the most important reasons to be aggressive and is an essential addition to your no limit Texas Holdem strategy.

Fold Equity

When you are playing poker you do not have to have the best hand to win. You can also win the pot by making your opponent fold.

By being the aggressor, or the one who is betting and raising, you are giving yourself a second chance of winning the pot by making your opponent fold.

This additional value increases your chances of winning the pot when making a bet and is called the “fold equity”

For example, lets say you have a strong but easily beatable hand and you think it is 50/50 that your opponent holds a better hand. So your chances here are 50% to win the hand. If you make a bet then you think there is a 50% chance that your opponent will fold as his hand is not that strong either.

  • You now have a 50% chance you opponent will fold and you win the pot +50%
  • Even if he does call you will win 50% of the time with a better hand +25% (50%x50%)
  • So your overall chance of winning the hand is 75% if you make a bet vs 50% if you do not bet.

By sticking to this tight aggressive style and paying attention to what types of players your opponents are you will be able to greatly improve your game by not only ensuring you are playing good poker, but also taking advantage of the style of play of you opponents and optimising your play to counter it.

Tip 3 – No Limit Holdem Bankroll

Another essential basis of any No Limit Holdem Strategy is to protect your bankroll. Just like any other finances you should monitor and manage your bankroll to ensure that you are playing at the correct stake levels.

Poker is a game of skill, but it is also based on probability like any card game, and you are always reliant on the draw of the cards.

Good poker players understand the probability and odds of the cards they need arriving but no matter how well you play and how much your strategy is designed to maximise the odds in your favour there is a chance that the smaller odds will hit and you will lose.

In the long term this is not a problem, because if you play correctly and with the odds in your favour then the laws of probability dictate that over the long term you will come out on top.

So as part of a good strategy we must protect ourselves against the short term fluctuations of the lessor odds hitting and beating us. This is often called “variance” in poker.

We also need to protect against us having an off day and playing badly in a poker session, making incorrect decisions – there are all sorts of reasons this may happen, tiredness, illness, distractions.

To provide this protection we establish bankroll management rules which say that we only sit down at a table with a small percentage of our total bankroll. This way if you have a losing session then you have plenty of further buy-ins with which to play another time and recover those losses.

The normal rule for No Limit bankroll management is to maintain 20 buy ins and only risk 5% of your total bankroll at any single table. A normal buy in for a table is 100 big blinds, so that would represent about 2,000 big blinds. As your bankroll grows, you can play higher stakes, if it shrinks then you may have to drop to lower stakes until it recovers.

This level of protection is required due to the volatile nature of No Limit and the potential to lose your whole buy in very quickly if it all goes wrong.

Making sure that you obey these strict set of rules is very important and the first rule of good strategy that you must learn. You can read more about bankroll management in our introduction article.


The above tips are by no means meant to be a complete strategy, they are just some introductory notes that you should understand before you start to develop a No Limit Texas Holdem Strategy.

If you would really like to improve your Texas Holdem strategy then we highly recommend the free Winning Poker Strategy Guide over on Poker Professor. This is a complete strategy course that will teach you multiple ways to improve your strategy. It will also walk you through turning $25 into $1,000 by the end of the course.

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