We're updating the site for a better experience. Thanks for your patience! ♥️

Longhand Limit Texas Hold'em Strategy

This section will give you the basic strategy for longhand limit hold'em (eight or more players). This section is intended for the beginner, so he or she can win at the lower limits ($2-$4 or lower).

Preflop Starting Hands
This is where most beginners make mistakes. They simply play too many hands. What beginners fail to recognize is that longhand limit hold'em is a game of patience. As boring as it sounds, you literally can just wait to be dealt the quality hands, and just win with those.

So what are the good hands? David Sklansky, a poker expert, groups hands into eight categories. I'm going to simplify his method a little bit for you. The main difference between my ratings and his ratings is that I don't give preference to suited cards. The only reason I do this is that beginners tend to play suited cards too much. Being suited is nice, but it's just a small bonus, it doesn't change the actual value of the cards as much as many beginners realize.

Category I

These are the best hands, bar none. You should raise or reraise with them preflop. If you hold AA, you especially want to jam as much money into the pot as possible.

Category I hands should almost always be played. The only exception is if you hold AK or JJ and you are positive that someone has AA or KK by the way they are raising (in other words, the person is a very tight player, but is acting like a maniac preflop). These hands generally should be raised from any position and you want to get a lot of money in preflop. However, for AK you need to hit an Ace or a King. So don't get in a raising war with one person because that person probably has a pocket pair already.

Category II
TT, 99, AQ, KQ

These are good hands, but they aren't amazing. You generally need help from the board. When facing multiple players in low-limit, you will almost always need to hit a set with TT or 99 to win.

Category II hands should generally be played. These hands work better with fewer players in the pot, so you should raise to try to knock people out. But these hands can be folded if there has been significant action before you. If a player raises, another player re-raises and a third player makes yet another re-raise, you can be quite confident that one or more of them have your hand dominated.

Category III
88, AJ, AT, KJ, QJ, JT, QT

These are good hands. However, be careful playing AJ, AT, KJ as these hands are vulnerable to losing to a higher kicker (i.e. if an Ace is on the board, but someone else has AK, you would lose because he has a higher kicker).

You should play these hands more often when they are suited and when you are in late position. When they are suited, they have a higher chance of winning, especially in a multi-way pot. When you are in late position, you will have a better idea where you stand among other players. If there has been heavy action before you, you should consider folding because someone might have a hand that dominates yours. However, if everyone has folded to you or there is just a limper or two, a raise is probably in order.

Category IV
Ax suited (x means any small card)
Pocket Pairs 77, 66, 55, 44, 33, 22
Suited Connectors T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, T8s, 97s, 86s

Category IV hands are very different. You want a large, multi-way pot, because these hands miss the flop often. However, sometimes these hands are amazing (if you hit a straight, flush, or trips). Therefore, you want to be paid off big when you actually hit something with these hands, which is why you want a lot of people in the pot.

Your Hand

You call a bet on flop, [[cards 9s]] comes on turn, and then you jam the pot. With these hands, you want to commit as few chips as possible preflop, while hoping that many people go into the flop. If you are the dealer, and one guy is in with a raise, fold. However, if you are the big blind, and 5 people have called a raise, go ahead and call and see the flop.

Flop Play
Once you hit the flop, you will be in one of four situations:

1. You are winning but have a beatable hand. For example, you have top pair plus top kicker or an overpair.

Your Hand

You want to jam the pot and knock people out. Thus, you want someone to bet to you and then to raise if you are in early position. If you are in late position and no one has bet, you must bet to encourage some folds.

2. You have a boss hand. You have three-of-a-kind or maybe even a full house on the flop. There is no reason to knock people out, because you will probably win (unless you have trips and there's a flush draw out there; then you need to make them pay). In these situations, it's generally best to wait until the turn to jam the pot, but jam the pot on the flop if a scary draw is out there.

3. You have the second-best hand.
Your Hand

In this case, treat the hand as a drawing hand or simply fold, unless you really believe that you may have the best hand at the moment (this is unlikely in a larger, multi-way pot because someone is bound to have a King).

4. You have a drawing hand.
Your Hand

For these hands, you must use outs and pot odds. There is a detailed explanation of this in our shorthand strategy under 'Flop Tips.'

5. You have nothing.
Your Hand

You clearly are beat, just fold at the first bet.

Number of Players in the Pot
One thing to always keep in mind are the number of players in the pot. This affects the types of hands you should play, and the likelihood that you hold the best hand.

Your Hand

In this example, you should be more careful if you are up against 6 players than if only one or two are in the pot. If there are many players, and if there is a lot of action (raising), you are probably beat by someone holding a Queen. However, if you are only up against one or two opponents, you still could very well have the best hand.

Those are the basics of longhand limit. If you play tight before the flop, there really aren't that many tricky situations you will encounter.

Next Article: Shorthand Limit Texas Hold'em Strategy

Poker Games

Special Offers

See the Special Offers

Live Poker

Find out about Live Events