Our latest poll, courtesy of Chasetheriver, has to do with betting limits: No Limit, Pot Limit, and Fixed Limit. While NL is by far the most popular on our site, each requires a different skill set. We’re curious about what you think …
Which betting limit requires the most skill?
Why do you think your choice requires the most skill?
In my opinion, FL is a nightmare, PL is great for controlling bingo, and NL is the best option. Regarding skill, I think that the more betting options you have, the more responsibility you have, and the more your choice or decision will have an impact. In FL you almost have no choice at all, in PL your choice is limited, and in NL you have the widest range of choices for betting, hence the requirement for more skill.
If this hasn’t said this before, it should’ve. Fixed limit is a game of good cards. If you have them, you play; if you don’t, you fold. It IS that simple. Yes, bluffing is possible, but it’s much more difficult in that you MUST know your customers intimately AND they must respect your bets and raises. Also remember “fixed limit” doesn’t have to mean “cheap” (I’ve seen games of $200-$400). Limit games can get you hurt. Think of fixed limit as being a chess game.
No limit is a game of good situations. Your hand, preflop, is almost irrelevant as long as it’s affordable to draw the flop to. Once the flop is seen, THEN you have an idea what situations could develop and bend your strategy and betting in that direction. No limit games can get you killed. Think of no limit as a boxing match.
Pot limit is a sort of hybrid that starts out as almost-fixed limit, so you need to hold good cards, but then morphs into an almost-no limit game. You can get killed in this one, too. Pot limit is like playing chess with one hand while looking for a chance to knife your opponents in the back with your other hand.
All three are games of skill, but, as noted in the poll question above, the skill sets are different. They might as well be three different games that happen to share the same ranks of hands and deck of cards. Many players prefer one variant to the others–I prefer fixed limit, even though I play no limit here because that’s what most of the games are. Most of the professionals play all of the variants, but prefer one or another. Walk into any card room, though, and the vast majority of tables will be playing limit games. Perhaps that’s because players can avoid being killed by a single misstep the way they can be in the other variants…
I doubt any one can be called “better,” or “more skillful;” but “different” is fair. At least at fixed limit, you’ll get killed slower. As to which is more fun, that’s another purely individual choice. If you enjoy biting your knuckles, then no limit is for you. If you only want to bite them now and then, try pot limit.
Alan25main explains this very well! I chose FL because my goal is always to increase my “stack” and find FL the most challenging game to regularly accomplish my goal. FL, as stated, is more of a chess like game and basically is more difficult to consistently win playing. That said, FL can be attractive because you’ll rarely “die” due to a mistake or a bad beat and offers learning opportunities to advance your game.
See you on the tables!
NL is better as player can take risk and other players who have no good cards will fold and save chips
I hope nobody will hold this against me, but I agree with Maya. Why? With great freedom comes great responsibility.
The nature of free chips mitigates this truth somewhat but that applies across all betting structures.
I really wish FL was played that way Alan. Unfortunately, after playing FL for some time now, I discovered that it can easily turn into a bingo raising contest with no skill at all, worse than NL. In NL games, if someone goes all in preflop, you fold. In FL, if you call the minimum bet preflop, and 2 bingo players decide to get into a preflop raising war, you are caught in the middle, calling the constant raises until the limit is reached. Trust me, I tried very hard to like FL and enjoy it, but it doesn’t seem to require skill, and can very well turn into a raising competition by bingo players. The restrictions it gives you are also quite annoying. I have had royal flushes and couldn’t bet more than 60 chips because of the limit. I’m just telling you that the respect you think everyone has for your bets and raises in FL is not really that common.
Now regarding skill, I know I already said it, but it doesn’t take much skill to choose between 2 options: fold or call a minimum bet. The skill is needed when your options are unlimited. You said it yourself, in FL if you have good cards you play, if not you fold, it’s that simple. I don’t see the challenge in that. Even if someone decides to bluff in FL, it’s very difficult to make others fold when you bluff with a small bet that everyone can afford to call. When you bluff you need a tactic, you need to be able to make a big scary bet, full pot or even all in, you need to know if your opponents are willing to call said bet or not, you can slow play and make them think your cards are not that good, you can call big bets or fold to small bets, and it all requires skill and thinking.
Again, this is just my opinion, but if you give me 2-3 options to choose from you’re not challenging my skills more than when you give me 20 options to choose from.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you don’t “die” due to a mistake, this means you get more chances to make mistakes, which means you worry less about the consequences of your decisions because the risk is minimal, which means you need less skill because as you said “you get learning opportunities”, something you don’t get in PL and NL where the risk is high and the mistakes are costly and each decision counts. So while FL is “attractive” to you, don’t you agree that it requires less skill than the others?
If, in a FL game, you’re getting multiple raises behind your bet, you clearly DON’T have enough respect from the other players to carry off a bluff. Check raise a few times instead. Once they respect your raises as representing real strength, then you might be able to pull off a bluff. Not until then. You have to know them AND they have to know you.
I guess we all have to define “skill” for ourselves, something that means -what qualities we’ve chosen to value. I prefer showing a small to medium profit on a regular basis rather than having wild swings of ups and downs that leave me breathless. So, I suppose I value stability. Others can and do make different choices. They aren’t better or worse, just different.
At Replay, our fixed limit games appear to have a cap of 4 raises. So, in a 1-2 FL game (add zeroes until you value the stakes), the maximum possible cost in any game would be 60 betting units per player if every bet and raise is taken. Since the minimum buy-in for that hypothetical game would be 100 betting units, a player could call every bet/raise and lose–and still have 40 betting units left to try again with. Contrast that to any NL game where the same player can be broke after a single bet. So, Fixed Limit may be more forgiving in the short term; in the long term, skill will win out regardless of the betting format.
Just my opinion. Good luck and enjoy the games.
NO skill needed in NO limit… ALL IN with any TWO cards and win on RIVER. LOL
i think it’s easily NL.
the proof is already in the question, NL means no limit in betsizing, if you cap it to either PL or FL you decrease the options you have. and since there are more options you have less chance to make the optimal choice.
however i also need to say there is a different kind of skill needed, i tried FL once and i was easily one of the worst players on the table. but that’s probably because i have lots of experience with NL but none with FL
NL is best as you can raise as much as you want if have very good cards in PL it is limited and it spoils the case if turn or river card goes in favor of other player even though cards in his/her hand are not good
After reading all the posts I voted PL, and here’s why … … …
A couple of posters referenced “bingo”, so since the two biggest reasons there are so many bingo hands being played have nothing to do with skill, I can rule out that… They also occur in all 3 types of games… Therefore, the biggest reason PL takes more skill is because “usually” it is not possible to go all-in pre-flop, and players are forced to play post-flop poker. The better PL players know how to nudge pre-flop to get to an all in, but its more about being there to see the flop than anything else. Long term more information is given pre-flop, which allows skill to be applied post-flop.
My vote is as follows;
Texas Holdem No Limit
Omaha Pretty much a toss up between No Limit and Pot Limit
Omaha, Hi Lo Split. Pot Limit
Royal I don’t know enough about this game to have a valid opinion.
In my opinion No Limit requires the most skill because anyone can bet as much as they want at anytime so you have to be prepared for any given situation.
No Limit games require a lot of skill and patience. When you have a good hand you have to make the bet sizing correct so that you can get a few callers and you need to be patient when things aren’t going your way and someone else is making all the bets.
@Chasetheriver What do you think? Which one requires more skill?
I think Pot limit is best because those that like tlo go all in before the flop, is not poker…
Excellent debate. As I anticipated when I suggested this.
I would have liked to cheat and say ‘it depends’, but if I was forced to vote I would choose Fixed Limit as the higher skill level.
I prefer NL or PL for tournaments (more exciting and engaging from the start), but Fixed Limit Ring games are much more complex then they are given credit for.
Having a limited range of tools in your bag. How you use them knowing opponents have the same set of tools requires a good level of strategy.
In Fixed Limit every single bet counts. Spewing through limping, casual calls and transparent bluffs costs you chips which are not easy to recoup by setting up a trap for a big pot later.
Value betting and judging whether a call is positive or negative EV are critical decisions
Bluffing is a thing, both as the bettor and the caller. You can miss huge pots through missing that last bet in your story or erroneously give up with a hand which has enough equity
People say No Limit has more decisions because you may choose a bet size, but over aggressive play is frowned on as unskilled Bingo.
Fixed limit hold’em is considered as ‘solved’ by AI, but do we think that lends weight to it being considered less skilled?
Take a Heads Up game where a professional is taking on an amateur where each starts with 1,000 big blinds. If they have the choice of NL or FL, surely the better player would choose FL because their ability over the long haul will see them through?
Does a more predictable outcome in the long run equate to lower variance / less luck and therefore more skill?
How we define skill is a good generic question in its own right. I believe it the ability to reduces losses and variance as much as exploit wins.
My experience with FL is limited to tournaments. I might need to play some FL ring games and give it more thought. Thank you @Chasetheriver