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Crash Course in No-limit Hold'em for Beginners

Shifting Your Thinking from Limit to No-limit

The 8 Winning Principles of No-limit Texas Hold'em

How to Determine the Strength of Your Hand:

Determining How Much to Bet:

Understanding Your Opponents:

Knowing When and How to Bluff

Determining How Much to Bet

The Second Winning Skill of No-limit Texas Hold'em

Determining how much to bet is the second winning principles skill of no-limit Texas hold'em poker. These "Balancing Act" factors affect the size of your bet:

. The Strength of Your Hand
. The Number of Chips You Have
. The Size of the Blinds
. How Soon the Limit's Will Rise
. The Nature of your opponents

What Is Your Betting Goal?

How much you bet depends on what you are trying to do. For example, your goal might be eliminate players. If so, you might bet more than you ordinarily would. Another betting goal is to try to trap an opponent, in which case you might bet a little less. You also might want to try to represent a weak hand. Or you may try to steal the pot with a bluff bet.

Most players who are accustomed to playing no limit hold'em do not choose the appropriate amount of chips to bet when they first start playing no-limit poker play. They either underbet or overbet the pot.

Many of them simply make a "mini-raise" that is double the amount of the big blind, the amount they are accustomed to raising in limit hold'em. Inexperienced players who make mini-raises don't realize that they could just call instead. There is hardly any difference between raising to two bets and just putting in one bet in no-limit hold'em poker game. And some novices have just one move-all-in. We would like to give you a better idea of how much you should bet in no-limit hold'em so that when you raise, you will be confident that you are correct in your betting strength hand.

Betting Guidelines

We like to bring it in for between three or four times the size of the big blind when we are the first one in the pot. But a lot of players make the mistake of gauging the size of their raise by the strength of their hand. In Championship No-limit & Pot-Limit Hold'em poker guide, T.J. Cloutier and Tom McEvoy suggest that you always raise the same amount (three to four times the big blind) so that you won't give your opponents any clues about poker the strength of your cards.

Players tend to follow the leader. That is, it seems that if the first player who raises in the tournament overbets the pot by bringing it in for $100 when the blinds are $10-$ 15, it seems that everyone who raises after that follows suit by raising the same amount. "When that happens," Brad notes, "I usually ask put out loud 'What's the minimum you can come in for?' I ask that question because if my opponents start raising too much, they stop me from being able to just call and thus force me to have a big hand to be able to play with them." You do not need to follow the leader you can raise the amount of chips that you believe is correct, no matter what your opponents have been doing.

Overbetting the Pot

There are certain situations, however, when you can overbet the pot by a little bit. For example, suppose you get lucky in the first round and one of your opponents throws off all his chips to you. Now you have chips and you need to protect them. You don't want to give anybody a shot at making two pair when you're holding pocket pair aces for a small amount of money, so you might overbet the pot a little bit.

For extrastuff, you might bring it in for six times the big blind rather than four times the big blind. Sometimes overbetting the pot works to your advantage in another way. One of your opponents might think, "He's betting too much, he's just trying to steal this pot." And he calls you when he shouldn't.

Over the past few years, it seems that players have started moving in all their chips more frequently. When a player moves all in, it often means that he is inexperienced or doesn't know how to bet. Of course there is a benefit to moving all in, namely that no one can outplay you. If someone calls, the decision is over with and you cannot make a mistake. You may have made a mistake by shoving all in to begin with, but you cannot make any further mistakes since you are going to the river. No matter what cards come on the flop, even if you made an error in betting, you could get lucky and draw out on your opponent introduction.

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Tournament Practice hands

Tournament Practice Flops:

Bluffing Practice Hands

How to Play No-limit Hold'em

10 Ways to Practice No-limit Texas Hold'em

Extra Stuff