I used to be a strictly no limit poker player. I used the past tense there because I think I may have seen the limit poker light. I used to look down my nose at the limit players thinking, "Oh look at the nitty old men. Too scared to play no limit...a real man's game."
Last night I played my fourth session in a row at Prairie Meadows of 3-6 limit holdem with a full kill and each time I've left with somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 profit. Every time I go the table dynamic is pretty much the same:
2-3 decent players
2-3 loose-passive nits just chasing straight and flush draws
1-2 classic calling stations
1-2 no limit players killing time waiting for a seat who are tilted by all the draw chasing
Almost all of the players are positively leaking tells and might as well be playing with their cards face up. Most players only bet when they have something and will call all the way to the river with any draw or almost any pair. The majority of players only bet when they have a made hand of some sort and don't see the value in betting their draws. I've made the majority of my profit betting on combo flush/straight draws and getting paid off when I hit them. I also try to play as many hands in position against the nits and calling stations as possible while avoiding the players that are at least a little tricky.
I have to fight the urge to limp from early position along with 7-8 other players with weak cards. It's so easy to get in the mindset of "everybody's doing it, so I will too." At first I worried that people might catch on that I was playing tighter than others at the table, but most of them don't seem to be able to see past their own two cards. The ones that did notice that I was betting draws and not necessarily made hands were just that much more eager to play with me when I had big made hands like flopped sets or full houses.
My tactics are pretty simple:
* Avoid the good players
* If the nits bet, fold unless I have a really solid drawing hand
* Call or raise in position with pairs, suited broadway cards, and connectors
* Bet any made hands or draws to build pots worth winning and punish the calling stations
* Encourage people to play with me by being friendly
* Sooth the wounds of the nits when you snap them off on the river (oooo sorry, I got lucky)
* Don't bitch when they hit their 3 or 4 outer against my made hands
I have to admit I enjoy seeing the no limit players go on super monkey tilt when their big over pair gets run down for the third or fourth time in the session and they can't push anybody out of the pot. That used to be me. It's for sure a different game and you're not going to get rich playing it (unless you hit the bad beat jackpot), but I'm having fun playing and slowly building up my bankroll. Maybe once I get it up to a few thousand I'll jump back into the no limit game, but I promise to no longer look down on my low limit brethren.