Introducing Limit Holdem into Your Private Game

If y ou've followed me t o this point, y ou'll b e able to play Hold'em in your own home game. At first it might s eem hard, b ut after l ess than an hour of playing Hold'em, you'll have the basics down.

How much should you play for? In $l-$2-limit Hold'em, the big winner for the night might win $100. (Notice that t his figure i s 50 times the largest bet a llowed in the game; expressing expectations in terms of x number of big bets per s ession or per hour i s pretty common in poker.) But $20 to $40 wins ( just 1 0 to 20 big bets) wiil b e far more common. Wins equivalent t o more than 50 big bets do happen, but they are very r are, a nd you could play a long time without seeing one and a much longer time without experiencing one yourself! If you've understood what I've been saying about predicting wins and losses in terms of number of big bets won, you can probably figure out t hat in a $2-$4 game you can expect the big winner t o win around $200, but t hat more commonly you wiil s ee a lot of $40 to $80 wins and losses at this limit ( again, 1 0 to 20 big bets).

So what l imit s hould your poker game be? You'll have to answer this for yourself. You can play with a limit of 25 cents and 50 cents if you're a poor college student and take $5—$10 swings on average. I f you're an investment banker, perhaps you would enjoy playing with a limit of $300—$600, with average swings hitting $6,000 to $12,000 and the big winner s ometimes winning $60,000! I f your group normally takes s wings of about $20, then I would suggest that you play at that level ( 75 cents and $1.50) for Hold'em. Remember that the stakes can be changed very easily j ust by changing the size of the blinds. Note that if your group really plays Hold'em poorly, then the swings wiil be about twice as high. Speaking of playing Hold'em poorly brings me t o the next s ection.

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