Poker legend TJ Cloutier shares tales from the poker trail.
Tom McEvoy and I have been working for the past month or so on revisions for Championship No-Limit Hold'em, the first book we ever wrote together. So Dana Smith, our editor for the past dozen years, calls me for my comments on playing the popular low-limit, no-limit hold'em cash games the casinos and online sites are spreading these days. What strategies should you play to beat them, that kind of thing.
I drew a blank. "Let Tom handle that one," I told her, "because I've never played a small no-limit hold'em cash game in my life."
Frankly, my money wouldn't be worth five cents on the dollar in one of those games. It's just not my style. That's why I've never commented on low-limit anything. And a lot of walk-in casinos these days have a maximum buy-in policy, which I think is terrible because it really limits what you can win on a hand. I don't know how to raise in those little games. I don't see how you can protect your hand by bringing it in for $20, you know what I mean?
Actually the guys who play in the huge games think that the level I play is low! But at least when I'm playing $10/$25, there might be ten or twenty thousand on the table. And when you play $25/$50, there may be $100,000 on the table. So there's money to be won. I'm not saying that you can't win two grand in a $1/$2 game because you sure as hell can. But you'd better hold the deck and not get anything beat.
Years and years ago when I played on the road in Texas, we played in a game with a $1 ante. Everybody put up $1 on each hand. And it was a huge no-limit game. Every now and then you'll run into a game like that with certain circumstances that are special. If a game is movin' and groovin', it doesn't matter what the ante is. What matters is who's playing in the game.
I want to play in a game where I know I'm the best player and if the cards break even, I'm going to win. That's my kind of game.
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