When you sit down in a low-limit hold'em game, you are likely to find a broad range of poker experience and knowledge. Some players will be retirees who use the game as their social club and book fifty hours or more there each week. Others will have a discreet crib sheet in front of them showing the ranking of poker hands. Most of your opponents will lie somewhere in between — they'll be working folks who come down to the club for relaxation and a good poker game.
Low-limit games are often only half-jokingly called "no fold'em hold'em." You will often see seven or eight people at a nine-person table call to see the flop. Furthermore, many players will stay around after the flop with very weak or almost hopeless draws. In some cases, they know that they're taking the worst of the odds, but they get a special charge from catching those miracle cards and beating very strong hands.
Unlike in higher limit games, you are not likely to encounter any professional players in your low-limit hold'em game; your opponents will be playing for entertainment. The most obvious result of this is that people want to play more hands.
The two most common kinds of games are "loose-passive" and "loose-aggressive."1 In the former, many players pay to see the flop, but there is not much raising. In the latter scenario, there are many players for each flop, but many pots have three or four bets put in before the flop — everybody is "gambling." Note that the common thread between these two types of low-limit games is many players in each pot; this is unusual in higher limit games.
Sometimes the nature of the game will change, and it will get much tighter. When somebody raises before the flop, he may win the pot right there. A significant percentage of hands do not
'Sec the chapter "Player Stereotypes" beginning on page 140 for more information about these terms.
go past the flop. This is most common in short-handed games (ones with fewer than the regular number of players).
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