In online poker then limit hold’em is a much simpler game to play than it’s no limit cousin. The fact that the betting is structured reduces the complexity of the game enormously.
However, you still need to adjust very well to how your opponent is playing. At the end of the day then poker is poker when all said and done. If you opponent or opponents are using obvious strategies then you need to adjust. As you move on up through the levels then your opponents will be more aggressive on average. They will be aware that aggressive play works and that aggressive play can really run over timid opponents or players who have a bias towards passivity.
I was asked a few days ago how to react to a player who kept on doing the following. Our hero was on the button in a limit hold’em cash game and every time he raised on the button, he was three bet by the player in the big blind who then bet the flop. Our hero found this very hard to handle. Well it is very hard to handle if you let your opponent put you into a position where you have to hit flops.
This was precisely why the villain was playing in the way that he did. In fact despite his simple strategy he could in fact have been a very sophisticated player. But you certainly do not need a strategy with a high level of sophistication when your opponent will allow himself to be pushed around like this.
There are many differences between low-level poker and middle stakes poker. When you play say $1-$2 limit hold’em then the games will be less aggressive. It will mean smaller pots on average. This knocks on to you making less money of course although not necessarily less on a ptbb/100 basis. But less aggression means lower variance because the outdraws and beats that you will endure will come in smaller pots.
However when your opponents become more aggressive or you yourself become more aggressive then the escalated pots will mean a greater monetary swing. Let us say that your opponent raises in the cut-off and you know that they are a very aggressive player. You hold Q-J on the button and want to play the hand and so you three bet.
However, this hand is basically a coin flip against his range and so you will be flipping coins for the blind money less the rake. If the stakes are $1-$2 then there will be $1.50 in blind money in the pot and so you and your opponent have $1.50 in dead money in the middle to fight for. You need to adjust to what your opponent is doing and do that very quickly to be able to optimize your play in online poker these days.