Limit vs No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker – The Full Guide

Limit vs No-Limit Texas Hold’em Poker – The Full Guide

22/02/2021

For many years, Limit Texas Hold’em was the most popular poker variation. However, the in the past two decades No-Limit Texas Hold'em grew to become the game of choice for most poker players at online casinos. Many attribute the growth of No-Limit Texas Hold'em to televised poker tournaments and online games, which adopted no-limit poker due to its bigger prizes, fast pace, and exciting gameplay.

In this guide, we outline the differences between limit and no-limit poker, list different games, and provide tips and strategies for each. We constantly our guide, so bookmark this page and stay up to date on limit and no-limit poker games, strategies, and news.

To get an beginner’s overview on basic basic rules and strategy for poker, be sure to check out our definitive guide for all you need to know.

The Difference between No-Limit and Limit Poker Games

The main difference is that Limit Texas Hold'em features blind bets that are fixed in size, whereas No-Limit Holdem doesn’t restrict the bet amount. So while players at No-Limit Texas Hold'em can practically bet their entire stack on a single hand, an average bet in a limit game tends to be much smaller. With these basic principles, Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold'em lends itself to many other poker variations.


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In most poker games, each player is dealt a number of cards facing down (the 'hole cards'). Throughout several betting rounds, more cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table ('community cards'). To start the wagering, blinds are set as 'forced bets'. There are big and small blinds with set values. Where in most cases the big blind is double the value of the small blind.

Players are free to use the community cards in combination with their hole cards to create the best possible poker hand (in most popular versions, a hand contains 5 cards).

According to their turn and position at the table, players have three betting options:

    🗣 Call: Match the amount of the big blind

    ☝ Raise: Increase the bet

    📁 Fold: Surrender your hand and forfeit your stake

In limit poker, the raise is fixed at twice the size of the big blind.

In no-limit poker, the minimum opening raise should be at least twice the big blind. The maximum raise can be all the chips the player has in their stack (an 'all-in bet').

No-Limit Poker Games

No-limit and limit-poker games are played in a very similar way. But in some situations, players are required to make different decisions when playing at no-limit tables.

When playing no-limit poker, you can afford to place more stakes on speculative hands in some cases. For example, if you have a promising pocket pair and a player raises you, you can possibly take their entire stack of chips if you get a set.

Below are a few more examples of decisions players face when playing No-Limit Texas Hold'em:

A pocket pair will usually put you significantly ahead of other players at a no-limit table. But there are some cases a low pair will put you behind. Some players just use their intuition and bet their full stack on a high pair, while others prefer two overcards.

Ace king is a drawing hand, which pretty much means that you will need to improve your hand in every situation to win. In this case, you shouldn't be willing to raise your whole stack.

Wild players that bet aggressively and play many hands are likely to re-raise. When playing No-Limit Texas Hold'em, this can mean there is a lot of money at stake. Make sure that you are disciplined enough to fold after the flop if you aren't dominating. Even if you believe that players are bluffing.

These are only a few examples of situations where you can win with a game that has no limit on how much you can raise. Because there is no fixed size of bets, you will possibly play in a way that makes you win the pot less often. But given every win can be significantly bigger, no-limit poker gives you a chance for larger, positive returns.

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Buy-Ins in No Limit Games

Buy-in is the amount of money you must put up to join a poker table. It is important to understand buy-ins, as they have a significant impact on no-limit poker games where the pot size can grow and reach impressive levels. Interestingly enough, buy-ins will have a lesser role in fixed-limit games due to the fact the bets are limited.


Want to learn about more casino games? We’ve got you covered. Click below for our guides on the most popular tables games you will find at online casinos.


At most No-Limit Hold'em tables, the minimum buy-in is 40x the size of the big blind. For example, if you are playing no-limit poker with blinds of £1/£2, the minimum buy-in is £80. Keep in mind that in some situations, there is no cap on the buy-in which means you can bring to the table as many chips as you'd like.

Limit Poker Games

Limit Texas Hold'em is not as popular as the no-limit version of the game. But many poker rooms offer lower-stake limit-poker cash games. These mostly attract novice players that don't like the stress and the big fluctuations associated with no-limit poker. You will also find in these rooms some experienced players that simply enjoy playing Limit Texas Hold'em.

If you are a player that is just starting in poker, limit games are a good way to improve your skills without risking too much money. To avoid doubt, you can still lose (or win, if you are lucky) large sums of money in a Limit Texas Hold'em. But your risk at each hand is much smaller.

Advantages and Drawbacks of No Limit vs. Limit Poker Games

Both limit and no-limit poker variations come with their unique advantages and drawbacks. The following are a few key areas in which both variations differ:

Gameplay

  • Limit poker is a great way for new players to learn the game as it provides slower, simpler gameplay. Players can concentrate on their hand in a structured setting, as opposed to calculating their next raise. However, some experienced players find limit poker boring.

Stress

  • Players that have a good grasp of poker theory and hand matchups will enjoy a Limit Texas Hold'em that allows them to calculate their bets, calls, and folds based on their own hands and the hands of their opponents. And with luck, you can even win without really knowing how to calculate your bets. It is a much calmer, stress-free environment.
  • No-limit games are a lot more stressful. Not only that everything is happening more quickly, but there is usually a lot more money at stake. So each decision a player makes is crucial and involves pressure.

Creativity

  • Many players say that no-limit poker is a great method to develop creative thinking. You will have to make complicated decisions fast and manage your stakes accordingly. It has a positive effect on creativity and forces your brain into overdrive.
  • On the other hand, fans of limit poker say that the fact they have less pressure and more time to concentrate on each hand helps them form a structured thought process, which also leads to creative decision-making.

Stakes

  • While No-Limit Hold'em allows players to win more money, they run the risk of losing more. Limit Hold'em games potentially yield less per winning hand, but also bear less risk of losing. So you will usually need more money to play no-limit poker. And given it’s a much faster game, your money will usually last you shorter than it would at limit poker.

Player Experience

  • Limit poker is usually more popular with beginner and intermediate players that want to practice and improve their game without spending too much money. However, experienced players usually prefer no-limit games. As No-Limit Texas Hold'em is faster and more engaging, it is featured in most professional tournaments and televised poker events. Therefore, it is associated more with advanced and professional players.

Game Availability

  • No-limit poker is more popular and readily available. This means that players can find considerably more tables to play at, compared to limit-poker options which are usually less common and harder to find in online poker rooms.

No Limit Poker Strategies for Cash Games

There are a few key strategies to keep in mind when playing no-limit poker:

  • Use your position - The player's position at the table has more importance in no-limit games because of the impact it will make on their stack. A good player can trap an opponent with the help of a position.
  • Pay close attention to the money on the table - This includes both your opponents' money and your own. The stack size in a no-limit game will greatly affect the way players react and make decisions.
  • Be disciplined - Have patience when it comes to raising bets. Wait for a good hand and don't chase.
  • Be selective - Be very selective with the hands you play. This means folding in an early position when in doubt.
  • Select the right tables - Only play at tables where you have an edge. Try to find tables with at least a few weak players.
  • Assess your opponents - As soon as you sit at a table, make sure you quickly assess the opposition and use weaknesses to your advantage. Who plays inferior hands, who folds aggressively, who bluffs, etc.
  • Pump or dump - Fold, bet, or raise if the odds are with you. Avoid calling unless you have a specific reason (such as trapping an opponent).
  • Be aggressive - Sometimes you will need to have the courage to be aggressive with draws, or with perceived best hands. But always be disciplined and make sure your aggression is part of your strategy.

Limit Poker Strategies for Cash Games

Although limit poker is sometimes perceived as easier to play, it is also a highly strategic game. The following are some useful Limit Texas Hold'em strategies:

    🔶 Play fast. Remember that although decisions are important, the only decision that will cost you more than one bet is to fold. So if your hand seems ok but not strong, and you are in doubt about staying in the game, use your intuition and make a quick decision to either call or fold.

    🔶 Don't look at stack sizes. In no-limit poker players look at the size of their own, and their opponent's stack to figure out implied odds. In limit poker, the pot size is what matters. It's important to keep an eye on the pot and keep up with the fast pace of the game. When the pot is big, calling too much on weaker hands, or folding too quickly will cost you.

    🔶 Play poor hands in the big blind. Limit poker allows you to play nice pots and win against weaker players, even without having premium hands. So don't fold too fast.

    🔶 Respect big cards. If you are dealt a big pair at a limit-poker table, you don't risk going broke if someone flops a set and forces you to lose. So try to make decently strong hands that benefit from big cards.

    🔶 Don't bluff too much. A big part of limit poker is putting the right amount of money into the pot with the hand you are dealt. This, based on your perceived chances to win that hand. Because the other players at the table are also not risking a lot of money on each hand, it is unlikely that you will bluff an opponent into folding a decent hand.

    🔶 Plan how to raise. In limit poker, the bet size doubles once you make it to the turn. Therefore it is important not to be transparent by raising as soon as you flop a strong hand. You have a set number of bets you can make, so use them wisely.

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FAQ

♣ What does limit mean in poker?

In poker, limit and no limit refer to the amount that you can bet. In limit poker, you can’t raise by more than 2x the size of the big blind. In no limit poker, 2x the big blind is the minimum that you can raise and the maximum could be your entire chip stack.

♣ What is the side pot in poker?

If there are several players left on the table and one player has gone all in on a round that is still in play, the other players can continue to bet on the side. These additional bets are separate from the main pot. This side pot is only relevant to the players who contribute to it.

♣ What are the Texas Hold’em betting types?

Texas Hold’em has four main types of betting structures. Limit and no-limit are the two structures discussed in our guide. The other two structures are spread-limit and pot-limit (PL). In a PL game, you cannot raise the stakes by more than the amount currently in the pot. In a spread-limit game, the spread defines the minimum and maximum bet limits, and remains the same throughout the game.

♣ How do you win at poker with a limit?

There are several things that you can do to improve your chances of winning Limit Hold’em games. Make quick decisions and focus on the pot size rather than stack sizes. Don’t fold too fast, don’t overdo the bluffing, and plan your raises.

♣ How do you win at no-limit poker?

To improve your chances at winning in no-limit poker, you need to use your position at the table and keep a close eye on the stacks. Raise only if you have a good hand, and fold if you don’t. Assess your opponents and take advantage of weaknesses.
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Ziv Chen

Ziv Chen

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Ziv Chen has been working in the online gambling industry for over two decades in senior marketing and business development roles. Ziv writes about a wide range of topics including slot and table games, casino and sportsbook reviews, American sports news, betting odds and game predictions. Leading a life full of conflict, Ziv constantly struggles between his two greatest loves: American football and US soccer.