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Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved. Poker History. Editor: Erik Smith.
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FROM HOLDEM TO NO LIMIT HOLDEM

In the late 90's when online poker saw the light of day the only game played was $3-$6 Fixed Limit Hold'em which is also referred to as Limit Hold'em or just Hold'em. $3-$6 Hold'em is considered medium stakes today and only advanced players still manage to beat these games. Prior to 2003 Limit Hold'em was the biggest game online.

Several networks such as Cryptologic did not introduce No-Limit Hold'em until 2003. A similar trend was seen on Prima Poker and other networks. Generally Limit Hold'em remained much bigger in Europe for a while compared to the U.S. where No-Limit Hold'em quickly became a far more popular game.

 

TV & TOURNAMENT POKER

We believe that the major shift was due to the broadcasting of large-scale poker tournaments on TV. Big events were and still are played as No-Limit Hold'em.

The buy-in for these televised tournaments ranged up to $25,000 and featured pros from all over the world. Regular people who had never been near a real poker table now took the game into their homes while eating pop corn, drinking beer and rooting for their favourites. They loved to see how players were bluffing while battling for titles with millions of dollars at stake. 

The No-Limit game has the element of surprise since players can suddenly declare themselves "all-in" committing all their chips to one hand. No-Limit Hold'em became a massive success for the TV producers of the new poker shows. 
 
 
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIMIT AND NO-LIMIT HOLD'EM
  • Fixed Limit Hold'em is a high card drawing game where you constantly have to make a lot of small decisions throughout the game but hardly ever face any single crucial decisions.
  • No-Limit Hold'em is a game where you play for stacks. You have far less decisions but few very big ones during a game.
 
The general perception is that it is easier for limit-players to adapt to No-Limit Hold'em while the opposite has proved more difficult. You often hear No-limit Hold'em players complain that Limit Hold'em is a suck-out game where the fish hits too often and is rewarded for stupidity. The case is that Limit Hold'em has far more showdowns than No-Limit Hold'em and therefore players naturally experience more suck-outs making them feel as if they are out of control and not able to handle the swings.