Low Limit Poker Strategy

Most any hand runs the risk of being drawn out. But, big cards run an especial risk. Typically, they are closer to being as good as they can be, despite what turns up on the flop, than drawing hands. Drawing hands stand to go from rags to riches, whereas big cards can amount to bigger hands, but not as big.
First, let’s identify what we mean by big cards. Big cards include any of the following:

  • Big pairs: a pair of Ten’s or bigger
  • Big unsuited cards: both cards are Ten’s or bigger…10-Q, for example
  • Big suited cards: same as above, but the same suit…obviously a nice hand, in fact the best kind of hand at a low-limit table. Let’s look at each of these, and what they mean what they look up at you.

Big pairs

If you are dealt a pair of Aces or a pair of Kings, come out swinging. It’s typically not the wrong thing to do, regardless of if the table if loose or tight. These are big hands. The only problem with them is that they can’t improve as much. In fact, they have the same potential for improving as does a pair of Two’s (barring the neglible chance of a high straight or high flush). So, you’ve been dealt a good hand, but it may be as good as it’s gonna get. After the flop falls, if your hand hasn’t improved, then you will likely need to test the waters as to who made their draw.

Make it expensive for the other players to stay in. The result will depend on how the table has been reacting to you throughout the session. If you are perceived to be a tight player, as I usually am, your bet will get more respect. At the loosest of low-limit tables however, anything goes…you could be re-raised. You want to make it expensive because your hand may already be as good as it can get.

Each player that you leave in the pot however may stand the same or a better chance at making an even better hand than yours.

After you’ve knocked some players out before the flop, knock out a few more on the flop. The turn and the river may give evidence of a possible made hand, such as a straight or flush. There may be three of the same suit on the board. Or, there may be a run of three or four cards. When this happens, you’ve reached the worst part about having a big pair at a low-limit table. That’s right.

You’ve spent up until this point betting at every chance, but do you have that straight or flush that we can all see on the board? And if not, does somebody else? Or does somebody else think they can bully you out by pretending to have it? At this point, it’s a judgment call. If a player did not raise any of your previous bets, then he was likely chasing a draw. If that’s the draw that you see on the board, you may be beat. For example, if two Clubs fall on the flop, and a third falls on the turn, the player that called your hand before the flop and on the flop may have a flush.

In summary, bet this hand before the flop, bet this hand on the flop, and if nothing looks scary on the board, bet this hand on the turn and the river. Everybody loves Kings and Aces.

In fact, the Excalibur in Las Vegas has a spinning wheel at the back of its poker room. If a player turns up a pair of Kings or a pair of Aces and doesn’t win the pot, that player gets to spin the wheel. The dollar denomination that appears on the wheel is awarded to the player for having lost with so strong a hand.