Full Tilt Poker’s No Limit Cap games

Full Tilt Poker recently introduced CAP games.  These games are interesting and require a different sort of aggression style.  Let me set the scene: in a $.50/$1 no limit texas hold’em cap game, nobody may bet more than $30 into the pot.  Once that happens you are considered all in and you can’t win or lose any more money.

These games function as a bridge to full No Limit games when you aren’t comfortable with games that put your whole stack at risk.

The implications of this fundamentally change the way you bet.  As the pot grows, and people grow closer to the cap, they are more likely to call with any sort of hand.  For example if there are four people in the pot and everyone has put in $20, everyone has $10 left.  It’s almost impossible to win that pot without a showdown, because if anyone bets, at least one person will call, which will create a cascade effect and then everyone calls.

That’s problematic, and the last thing you want to do is being a hand with 2 or 3 other players with a hand that doesn’t play well against draws.  Poker is about adjusting your game to varying conditions, and this is no exception.  No limit cap games means you have to consider pushing your opponents out on the flop or before hand, which requires slightly more expensive raises. 

For drawing hands, of course, you want the opposite.  In a weird way you want to bet your draws in very small amounts, because every time your opponents put money in the pot, they get closer to their cap and their pot odds (and yours improve).  Therefore, they are more likely to pay you off even when you have the best hand.  Think of it as a frog on a hotplate, you want to get your opponents to put in enough money so that calling the rest of the cap looks like an easy decision given the size of the pot. 

I don’t think you want to play any looser in a NL CAP game than you would in a normal NL game.  In fact I think you want to play tighter.  Because you’ve limited your potential upside with big hands, you can’t really make as big a score off any hand to make up for all the junk you’ve been playing.  So you can’t afford to waste preflop calls with junk, and definately don’t be calling any cold calls preflop without a really good freakin’ hand or a stone cold read.

So, to summarize, your opponents will be:

  1. playing more hands, because the potential loss is less,
  2. paying you off more often, because the potential loss is less, and
  3. staying in more hands.

You are going to:

  1. play very tight since your upside is limited,
  2. bet gently enough to keep players in the hand, but move them closer to the cap, and
  3. bet players out of a hand early in order to keep too many from drawing on you since lots of people will cap-call-draw.

Finally, I think it’s worth pointing out that these NL CAP games are going to be considered starter No Limit games by a lot of newbie players.  This means you are quite possibly going to be the best player at the table.  This should be enough to convince you to play them.

Good luck out there.