Don't Start Out Playing No-Limit Hold'em Cash Games!

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Don't Start Out Playing No-Limit Hold'em Cash Games!

It never fails to amaze me that absolute beginners sit down with $400 and decide to play no-limit hold'em as a cash game. In terms of working your way up in the world of poker this should be the last type of game that you tackle, and only then when you have a sufficient bankroll and the experience to play the most complex and the most volatile form of hold'em.

Instead, novices see no-limit poker on television and want to jump in at the deep end. They make horrible plays, which in all fairness they see taken out of context on television, or that they read about in questionable poker strategy texts by overrated authors such as Phil Hellmuth, Jr. The truth of the matter is that no-limit hold'em for cash requires a lot of creativity, a gambling mentality, and the ability to withstand huge losses and swings. Most novices get torn apart minutes after they sit down, and this doesn't only happen online. The next time you're in Vegas you will see rank amateurs who are "killing time" in a no-limit game with a $1000 buy-in.

These players can of course present a danger to good poker players, because in any one session a lot can happen in terms of luck. A guy playing for the first time can break you just as easily as Gus Hansen, and anyone can be dealt the nuts and play it well. Remember both those facts the next time your pride swells and you decide to take someone out. But in the long run these players will lose everything. It might not be to you in this session but it is merely a matter of time.

If you are a poker novice, and the idea of pot odds or implied pot odds is a foreign one or the concept of board texture means nothing to you, then heed my words of warning and stay away from these no-limit side games. By all means you should play no-limit tournaments, and dip your big toe in the no-limit poker pool, but don't swim with the sharks until you have plenty of protection - both psychologically and financially speaking.

Written by Marc Weinberg - the Senior Editor at Online Poker Insider, and you can read his daily articles on online poker play at

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