Monday, July 11, 2011

Faldo is Retiring From “Friendly” No-Limit Games

Maybe I should go to the beach instead.

I am NOT retiring from friendly no-limit tournaments, just no-limit ring play. I will still play in home “limit” ring games, without the "burn" game features.

It might be my age, but I don’t think so. I still like a challenge and I still like competition. I will still play at casinos when I want to do so.

It might be the money involved, but I don’t think so. Our money will probably be worthless soon anyway. And at the stakes I play, the money is not a life changer – win or lose.

The problem for me is I don’t consider No-Limit a “friendly” game. The purpose of the “no-limit game” is to empty your opponent’s stack and hopefully empty the wallet or purse. All means – fair and unfair – excluding cheating and angle shooting of course – can and should be used. It is not a ‘friendly’ situation.

Limit Holdem is a very difficult game to win a lot of money at. I know this from years and years of playing it at home games and at the casino. Like most of you, I started playing $.25 - $.50, and graduated to $2-$4 at the NPP tables, and the $10 - $20 at the casinos. It’s fun, but difficult to be consistently profitable. That is the point of why limit is better for home games.

At limit holdem games, jokes, food, stories, and drinking takes precedence over profit making. The swing variances are such that any player on any given night can win or lose. But their wallet probably will not be emptied.

Ring limit is a total grind with devastating variances due to the luck factor. A decent player should make about 1BB/hr (one big bet per hour) on average, with a pretty large standard deviation. That is an awful positive profit equation for a serious player at a low – limit game at a casino. The rake and dealer tips make any profit long-term a tough proposition.

But a no rake (except for beer and food costs) low-limit limit home game is great fun! Variance should be part of the fun for a group of friends’ playing cards and usually playing almost every hand!

A good no limit player has so much more control over the outcome of a game. If he has a good hand, he can make a large enough bet to discourage players from chasing a draw hand. Of course, if he has nothing, heavy betting causes constant pressure that makes weak players crack like cheap cement. There is nothing friendly about that.

This is almost impossible to do in the low stakes limit game where everyone just calls all the way down to the river, and they are usually justified to do so because of the pot odds (the size of the bet compared to the size of the pot.

In the game of No-Limit Texas Holdem, you can win pots by semi-bluffing or stone cold bluffing. There is more opportunity to play the person as opposed to just playing the cards. At any point, you could potentially end the hand with a crushing bet.

Even a “friendly” no-limit game becomes a game of “stacks” at some point. You tournament players know how hard it is to fight the big stacks. Unless unlimited buy-ins are allowed at the “friendly” home game, as time goes on, short stacks are at a big disadvantage. This is not the case in a limit game. Stack sizes don’t affect the way the hand plays out.

Let me put it this way, quoting from another site: “Limit Texas Holdem is all about tiny, slight edges that you exploit from lesser skilled players. No limit Texas Holdem is about monster edges that you exploit from lesser skilled players.”

Tiny is better for a friendly game.

1 comment:

Matchy said...

If I could get a limit game going I would, but everyone I know save 2or 3 of us want nothing but NL. I do understand your point, but personally I am cool with no limit as long as the stakes are reasonable. I just wanna play home poker!