Selective aggression is the key to effective poker play, and Limit Texas Hold'Em is no exception. Playing an attacking style is much more effective than a defensive one, allowing you to win much more often than the cards will allow you to. However, playing a wild, jackal style can also be your downfall, so there are some guidelines to keep in mind as you reach for your chips. It is recommended that you have a basic knowledge of competitive play before proceeding.
- Did you raise pre-flop? Against one opponent, it's often a good idea to go ahead and bet the flop, almost regardless of what hit. By consistently being aggressive, your opponents are forced to either have a hand or re-raise and bluff at you. Keeping strong pressure is important. Remember, two out of three times a single opponent will have missed the flop. Use that statistic to your advantage. Against multiple opponents, where someone is more likely to have made a hand, you should be more resistant to betting without hitting the flop. When you're bluffing, you rarely want to be re-raised and forced to fold.
- Do you have top pair? If you do, you should usually bet with or without a good kicker. This allows you to gather information. Did you opponents all call you? They probably have draws, middle-pairs they hope to improve, or top-pair with a junk kicker. As the hand progresses, keep in mind possible draws your opponents have. If they make their draws, bet, but plan to release if raised. If no draws were hit, keep on betting, you probably have the best hand. Were you raised? Re-assess. With a strong kicker, consider re-raising to gather more information. If the betting is capped you can't be thrilled with only top pair, and you should re-assess again on the turn.
- Do you have middle pair? Middle pair is stronger against fewer opponents, and is generally worth betting. If raised, you can see if you have odds to call your 5-out draw, and you can plan on releasing if unimproved. Of course, if you suspect your opponent is on a draw, you should call down unless your opponent is likely to have improved.
- Bet more often in position. Position is the second most important factor next to the cards. Being in position means you'll be able to act with knowledge of your opponents firmly in mind, and can act accordingly. Did one player bet and another raise? You should probably get out of the hand unless you have the nuts or a draw to the best hand, and the correct odds to call. Bet less often when you're out of position unless you have a strong hand, in which case you can bet with the intention of re-raise when raised, or you can check-raise.
- Use your opponent's aggression against them. When you hit monster hands out of position, it's often correct to check to aggressive opponents. Let them bet for you. If you think your opponent is disciplined and willing to release if you're showing resistance, call the flop bet, check the turn, and then raise the turn bet.
- Remember, successful Limit poker is about winning one or two bets an hour. You want to try to milk your opponent's small mistakes while not making any yourself. Of course, you also want to force your opponents to make big mistakes, but that's usually their poor play rather than spectacular play on your own part. Betting often will crack most amateur opponents who do not know how to defend against you, so play aggressively and wait for opportunities to pounce.