Mixed hold’em is a specific variation of traditional hold’em poker. Though Texas hold’em is by far the most popular poker game in the world, other poker games do exist, and they offer a challenge to players who have grown a little weary of the same old hold’em style of play.
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What is Mixed Hold’em?
Mixed Hold’em games alternate between rounds of Limit and No Limit Hold’em. That’s really the only difference between Mixed and traditional poker games.
Every time the button moves all the way around the table, the game switches from Limit to No Limit (or the other way around), so that there is a rhythm to the transition from L to NL. Mixed games share one other important feature – blinds get bigger during Limit rounds to create a consistent pot size.
What’s the appeal of a mixed game of hold’em? Think of a mixed game as an advanced level of poker – players need to be able to transition between high-speed No Limit poker into the slow pace and steady rhythm of Fixed Limit poker.
Imagine that No Limit poker is a 40-yard dash while Fixed Limit games are a full marathon. Like in foot races, poker players tend to have skills that match one or the other, but not both. That’s the challenge of mixed hold’em – finding a balance between an endurance race and a mad dash to the finish.
Mixed Hold’em Poker Site Examples
Finding a good place to take part in mixed hold’em games and tournaments is a lot tougher than finding any old generic No Limit hold’em game. There are two reasons for that – for starters, not every Web-based poker room has the software to offer a mixed game. The second reason – most poker rooms don’t have the traffic (or the quality of players) needed to maintain a decent game of mixed hold’em.
An example of poker rooms that offer mixed games but simply don’t have the player base to make it worthwhile is any site on the iPoker network. Large mixed hold’em tournaments require a lot of better-than-average players interested in playing to make it work. We see this same problem on rooms that are part of the Merge network – the games exist, but they simply don’t have the players to drive tournament action.
Here, then, are three example of good places to try your hand at mixed hold’em poker.
It is generally true that poker rooms with the largest number of players tend to have the most varieties of the game available. That includes mixed hold’em. Since PokerStars is the largest poker room online these days, it should be no surprise that they have probably the best mixed product in the industry. PokerStars has the most variants of any poker site, and even though most of their tourneys are restricted to either No Limit hold’em or Pot Limit Omaha, they do occasionally offer mixed tournaments. PokerStars even includes the game in its World Championship of Online Poker.
According to PokerScout.com, 888poker is currently the second-biggest poker room online. This is an established poker brand that’s known for offering a variety of different poker games; not as many as PokerStars, but still a good variety. Outside of the traditional No-Limit hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha games, the site also offers Badugi and HORSE, which are further mixed variants not commonly found at online rooms. Though 888poker’s average traffic numbers are less than half those of PokerStars, the site still has enough traffic to host decent Mixed hold’em games from time to time.
Bodog currently comes in at fourth-place in terms of site traffic, and that’s probably about the limit for finding decent competition in Mixed rules games. I think of Bodog’s traffic and player base as being very similar to what you’ll find at 888poker; you won’t find all the best poker players in the world competing against you, but you will find enough to provide decent competition at the tournament and ring game level.
Mixed Hold’em Strategy
Good news for anyone interested in trying out Mixed Hold’em – it is possible to gain an advantage using a few basic techniques, as outlined below.
The over-arching strategy I recommend to most players is to constantly be on the alert, figuring out which of your opponents act aggressive during the L and NL rounds. I’ll give an example from a recent tournament I took part in – I was up against a player who I noticed playing more hands during the Limit rounds. That told me that he was no doubt playing a wider range of hands (in terms of quality) than he would normally play in a No-Limit round. I knew instantly that I could gain position, and I started raising him out of most hands both before and after the flop. That’s just one example – how about another?
I’ve noticed that so-called sheriffs are more prevalent in mixed tournaments, and their style of calling down a ton of bets in the Limit rounds is especially noticeable. Since their whole purpose is to “keep ‘em honest” at the River, just about all you can do is stick to straight ABC play. When the sheriff’s in town, only play quality hands and by all means please don’t try to bluff.
What should you do when your opponents tighten up during Limit rounds and loosens up during No Limit? This will happen a lot, especially in tournament play. The trick is to change your style as soon as you notice his style changing. For example – if a player is seeing more flops because of a relatively inexpensive blind, it makes sense to get aggressive with pre-flop raises, provided you have a solid hand.
Mixed hold’em usually means top-quality competition, and that means you have to learn to make good reads and try to get into your competitor’s heads a little. This is one time when it makes a lot of sense to take notes and be willing to switch styles to take advantage of the situation. Not only will that give you a better chance of beating them, it’ll keep them guessing as to your own strategy, which is always a good thing.