Time to move back to my roots of fixed limit. I have been losing money at NL25 these past two or three weeks, and even on days when I am making money, it isn’t anywhere near what I can make at fixed limit on an average day. I still have bouts of poor sessions and hideous beats, but I know fixed limit much better. I will still play NL a few times a week [predominantly on UB], to remain fresh with this style and improve gradually.
A few of the reasons why I am abandoning NL ring as my primary game:
- I cannot make as much, right now, playing at NL25 as I can at $1/$2 and $2/$4 FL. At NL50 or higher, I think the money would be commensurate, but I have nowhere near the skillset to play at those levels.
- It took me a long time to ramp up my aggressiveness at fixed limit, and I still am not where I want to be. My aggression at NL is severely lacking.
- I find myself making Fixed Limit moves at a NL table. Perfect case in point was me catching myself calling a potsized bet with the nutflush draw and one card to come. In FL, this is usually a no-brainer call or raise situation because you almost always have the odds to do so. In NL, that pot-sized bet just busted your immediate pot odds. And I wasn’t applying implied odds well enough. I’d end up losing too much freely calling.
- I wasn’t ready for the swings!
A few reasons why I will continue to learn this game:
- NL can be very profitable to a player who can play it with a certain controlled aggression. As stated earlier, I am not that person. It will take me awhile to get to the level of aggression that makes it profitable, and in the interim I need to maximize my profits in FL.
- A lot of small sites have ample NL tables but few fullring fixed limit tables. This makes it hard to bonus chase on some of these sites, because it requires a near 100% commitment to that site in order to acquire the requisite number of hands for their initial and reload bonuses. Another addition will be shorthanded for the same reason.
I like fixed limit better…overall. The real difference is that it is a bit harder to get the bad players off hands in FL. However, in the NL25 games I was playing, it was equally hard to get these lower level NL players off their hands. In the end, I was amazed at how many people were calling off all of their chips with a gutshot straight, flushdraw or open-end straight draw. It became problematic when they kept nailing them, and I was losing buy-ins when I was a heavy favorite. I know this is short-term thinking, but I have been watching my bankroll decline steadily, these past two weeks and decided switching back to FL was timely, if for no other reason than to shake things up.
Fixed limit has a lot going for it. Odds and Pot Odds are more defined, and less reliant on implied odds than NL. When making calls with draws in NL, one of the things I kept missing was how much my opponent had to back up his play.
“If I hit my hand would he have enough chips left to make it worth the call?” In other words, if he bet $4 into a $4 pot, giving me 1:1 odds, and I have 12 outs [roughly 3:1], does he have $8 left if I manage to hit one of my outs, and thereby give me the implied odds?
More times than not, he’d make a $5 bet into a $5 pot, with me on a 4:1 flushdraw, and he’d only have $5 left, and I would need to fold as I wouldn’t stand to win enough from him to validate a call.
In fixed limit, odds and the fixed limit of bets, plus a cap on how much can be wagered [which, of course isn’t the case at the Cryptologic sites], make the play of a hand less open to manipulation than NL, and more standardized. There is still room for maneuver, but your opponent’s counterplays and moves are also restricted. You cannot be pushed off of a decent draw by someone putting you all-in, or making a potsized bet and busting your pot odds, like you can in NL.
I think in the end, you can achieve a certain mastery in both NL and FL, but NL requires a higher mastery than FL.