There are often debates in the poker world regarding which is the toughest form of poker to play. Exponents of limit Texas Hold em poker often say it is this game while PLO specialists claim that their game of choice is the toughest. Having played all of the games to a fair level then I think that I am well versed to give my two cents worth on this topic. I was brought up on limit hold’em and this was my first real game of choice when I played online. I already knew that limit hold’em was a fantastically complex game and far more complex than other players gave it credit for.
Because of this then I favoured limit hold’em over other forms of poker a few years ago. But I was biased towards that form of poker having no real deep knowledge of any others at that time. It was only when I really understood most forms of poker that I could really judge for myself. I went through a phase where I then believed that PLO was the most difficult form of poker because this was the last game that I really comprehended. However there are many situations in PLO that are relatively straight forward and this game can be beaten well with system based play more than other forms of poker although I am certainly not saying that this is the optimal way to play the game.
No limit hold’em players who only play tournament poker are shielded from the real complexities of the game. This is because your stack size rapidly reaches a stage where you are forced to move all in and your moves are often forced and thus far easier to calculate. Knowing when to shove does not require multi-level thinking and any mistake cannot be a big mistake because your stack isn’t deep enough to make a big mistake. But in deep stacked cash game situations then the ability to make big blunders is more paramount and also easier to do.
This is because hold’em is a two card game unlike Omaha and so aggressive play is rewarded more often. However aggressive play in no limit hold’em can be a poisoned chalice and in the wrong hands it is like giving the keys to your Porsche to your 12 year old son. Playing deep stacked no limit is similar in many ways to sports betting as you are required to not just select your bets but to also identify the correct prices and to make sure that you take those prices and set those prices. A betting firm wouldn’t last very long if they continually got their pricing structure wrong. Their punters would quickly make money from them. But of course they are very skilled in getting this part of their business right and so it is the punters who are frequently taking odds that are less than the event actually happening.
No limit hold’em is about betting, bet sizing, stack sizes, frequencies, setting prices, taking prices, overlays, parlays and all of the rest of it. This is why it is tougher than many other forms of poker because it requires skills that professionals have in other fields like sports betting and bookmaking for example.