Limit holdem is a game that has both a low and high variance. Confused? I’ll explain what I mean. Most people think of it as low variance: the betting is fixed so you don’t risk losing your whole stack in one hand. If you end up being dealt kings and end up against aces, you will lose maybe 5 or 6 big bets. In no limit holdem, you would lose all of your chips just about every time. Because of this, you can confidently play limit with a much smaller bankroll in relation to the blinds than you can in no limit.
On the other hand, though, you can’t punish your opponents for a bad play by taking their whole stack. Since you are just betting a fixed amount, you end up pushing smaller edges more frequently, and this results in a higher variance over the long run. It is much harder to push your opponents off draws, and pot odds justify much more chasing than in no limit. You will also be forced to pay off better hands more often, also because of the pot odds. Experienced limit players understand that they will go through large swings where they break even or lose through thousands of hands, solely due to variance. It is crucial to maintain your composure during the hard times, because the luck will eventually even out and you will end up winning it back with correct play.
A winning limit player can expect a winrate of about 2-3 big bets per hundred hands. (Remember that a big bet is double the big blind.) Working on table and seat selection and hunting down fishy games is a good way to increase your potential winnings.
Limit is still a very popular game. The larger poker sites have high traffic at both low and high stakes just about any time of the day. A smaller site will have fewer options and will often not offer as much high stakes action. Check out a few options for limit holdem below.
Safe Bankroll for Limit Holdem
In Limit holdem, 300 big bets is recommended as a safe bankroll. Remember that a big bet is double the size of the big blind. For example, in a $.5/$1 game, the blinds are $.25/$.50. You should have $300 in your bankroll in order to play.
Bankroll Required to Move Up in Limit Holdem
A player should really only move up when he or she has 300 big bets for the next level. Since opponents will be tougher at higher stakes and extended downswings are entirely possible in limit holdem, you want to avoid playing with a smaller amount.
Players who embrace risk can occasionally “take a shot” at the next level if they are winning and reach the point where they have about 250 bets or so. They must keep in mind, though, that this should only be done in order to test the waters and is not a permanent move. If you encounter a couple losing sessions, you should move back down immediately.
Bankroll Required to Move Down in Limit Holdem
You should move down any time your bankroll reaches 300 big bets for the next lower level. If you have built up a bankroll of $300, for example, and are playing $.50/$1, then you should move down to $.25/$.50 if you go down to $150.
Just about all poker players love the excitement of moving up in stakes, but it takes significant discipline to recognize when it’s necessary to move down. It is a vital skill to have, however, so remember that moving down isn’t a failure and can be simply the result of lady luck turning against us for a short period of time.
When to Cash Out Bankroll Earnings
It is safe to cash out any amount that still leaves you with 300 big bets at the stakes you wish to play. Keep in mind that this greatly affects your ability to move up in stakes. If you have aspirations to play at a higher level and don’t absolutely need the money, then it would be a good idea to avoid cashing out and continue to build your bankroll.
In conclusion, you can play limit poker with a significantly smaller bankroll in relation to the blinds than No Limit. It has a low hand to hand variance, but since you can’t push your edges by betting your stack, you should be prepared for high variance over larger samples. Keeping a bankroll of at least 300 big bets is recommended and you must stay disciplined in order to give yourself the best chance to win.