No Limit v Fixed Limit: Art v Science

There is a saying I poker that goes along the lines of “Fixed limit Hold’em is a science, whilst No-limit is an art form.” Having played a ton of both I can confirm this to be true.

Playing with a fixed limit betting structure ties your hand somewhat as it is very difficult to protect your hand or make extravagant plays to baffle your opponents. Some even say that the biggest skill in fixed limit games is losing less when you are behind; after all, a bet saved is money in your stack.

No-limit betting allows you to be more creative and to give your opponents the incorrect odds to chase their draws. Due to the nature of no-limit, you have the potential to win more in a single hand than the equivalent stakes of a fixed-limit game but on the flip side, you also have the potential for great losses.

When I was at school, science was my favourite and strongest subject. I just seemed to pick everything up very easily and found everything about it extremely interesting. My dad has a degree in Chemistry so I guess some of his thirst for knowledge filtered down to me.

However, my art and practical skills stop short of being able to draw matchstick men! It is frustrating really, as I know what is needed to make or draw something but the messages somehow get lost from my head to my hands! It is even more strange as my younger sister is a fantastic drawer and even has her own graphic design business.

So what do my academic skills have to do with poker? Well, when I first started playing poker, I played solely fixed-limit hold’em. After losing my first couple of $50 deposits, I bought a couple of books, joined some forums and my game came on in leaps and bounds. I took a $500 deposit to the dizzy heights of $1,500 and after a withdrawal ran another $300 up to $1,200. I felt as I was progressing nicely and on my way to the medium stakes where decent money awaits.

Then something happened. I discovered no-limit and ever since I shoved my first full stack into the middle, I was hooked. The excitement gripped me and despite only being able to play the nano-stakes, I was really enjoying playing. The main problem I have found though is that my no-limit game simply has not progressed how I like it. Yes, I have had some good sessions at the cash tables and I am still playing with the money won from other people but I just seem to lack that spark to propel me to the next level.

This has made me think that maybe the way my brain functions is hindering my poker playing. I have already mentioned that I am not very skilled in the artistic department, lacking flair and finesse, but more of a thinker who like the answers to be in black and white. Could the fact I am a scientist at heart mean I am suited more to fixed limit poker?

Despite having one of my best ever months, I have serious doubts about my no-limit game. I have watched numerous videos from training sites and I just know that I will never be even half the player they will be as there is something missing. Whilst fixed-limit is not as popular as its no-limit cousin, maybe that is the game suited to me and my way of thinking. I guess the only way to find out will be to log some hands of fixed-limit and see how I fall back into it. I have the bankroll for $1/$2 but will start a little lower as I am extremely rusty, having played no-limit for the last two years.

I know this looks like I am changing my mind once again but I have big plans for my poker and I think as a player, you sometimes have to take a step back and evaluate everything. Having done that I have come to realise that maybe no-limit hold’em cash games are not for me.

Do any of you readers have any thoughts on this? Do any of you play fixed-limit cash games but no-limit tournaments?

As always, thanks for reading and best of luck at the tables!

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No Limit v Fixed Limit: Art v Science

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