A Guide to Starting Hands
Most card rooms offer both spread- limit and structured-limit hold’em games to their lower limit players. And most players play these two games in exactly the same way. After all, hold’em is hold’em, right! Wrong. Choosing your best game strategy depends on the structure of the game you’re playing in.
In a structured-limit hold’em game, the amount a player can bet on any round is completely determined by the betting structure of the game. Consider a $4 — $8 limit hold’em game where the blinds are $2 and $4. On the first two rounds of betting, a player can bet or raise $4 and only $4 and nothing in between. On the second two betting rounds, a player can bet and raise $8 and only $8 and nothing in between. A11 bets and raises must be in increments of $4 and $8. But in a $2 — $4 — $8 — $8 spread-limit hold’em game, where the blinds are $1 and $2, the bets aren’t so rigidly predetermined. Instead, a player has the option of betting anywhere from $2 to $4 before and after the flop and betting anywhere from $2 to $8 on the turn and the river. How much a player bets within this spread is completely up to the Slot player. The differences in betting structure in these two types of games are big enough to require drastically different strategies.
Your main strategy change should occur right at the top, in the selection of starting hands. In hold’em, the quality of your starting hand should directly depend on the amount of money you have to pay to see the flop compared to the return you expect if you get lucky and hit your hand. Why? Because your hand …