When you start playing in real-money games for the first time, you’re going to see a lot of other players on the felt, especially at lower-stakes limit poker tables where the betting is capped. It can seem challenging to play so many other people at once, but you might be surprised how well a simple, easy-to-manage strategy can work and help you make a profit, even at aggressive tables with large groups seeing every stage of a hand.
Firstly, you have to be brutal when it comes to what hands you’re playing and which ones you’re throwing back ad keep your position in mind at all times. The easiest thing to remember is that if you’re holding face card pairs or AK, you should go ahead and play and play aggressively. These have a positive expected value under any circumstances and are the very definition of a “no-brainer” at the tables. Stuff the pot as much as you can and don’t fall back unless the board features multiple pairs that could give your opponent a shot at a better set or full house.
Unfortunately, pocket rockets and their brethren just aren’t as common as we want them to be. You’re more likely to hold hands like TT, 99, AQ or KQ, which are definitely playable but require a bit more finesse from the player. You should work to knock outliers out of the pot as quickly as you can and instead focus on those who aren’t going to play every hand they come across and fumble their way into trips. If you’re late in the rotation and there has been a lot of action before you, you can feel okay folding if the value for money just isn’t going to be there for you.
The final category of hands that you can feel good about playing in a long handed limit pork game includes 88, AJ, AT, KJ, QJ, JT and QT. You should definitely look at playing these, but with some caution. Even if you pair up with your higher card, there’s the possibility that someone with a better kicker can take you down. For instance, if you end up with AJ pairing up with a board that features an ace, look out for the possibility that someone else may have AK and thus be able to beat you handily. I’ve found that being more aggressive with hands like this when they’re suited helps a lot to reduce your field, especially when you’ve got late position on your side.
To make it easy on you, I’m going to recommend just leaving pairs below 88 out of your game entirely. There’s the chance that your smaller pocket pair or suited connectors can hit a set or make a straight or flush, but that requires a bit more luck than can be profitable when you’re playing in aggressive games where many players are seeing each stage of the hand. Of course if the field is a bit more passive and you’ve got a good read on your opponents, you might well find that being aggressive with those hands pays off. Every table is different.
The single best piece of advice I can offer when you’re playing in long handed limit poker games is that you need to be patient. That patience allows you to build your bankroll and if you’re playing in multiple hands in an online poker site, you’re not going to get bored and start making silly decisions. Let the opposition make the mistakes that will help you make more money as you sharpen your skills.