Over the years, I have probably written three times the number of strategy articles on mixed games as Texas Hold’em. Part of that is the fact I’m experienced in most forms of poker and the other is that I enjoy limit poker and mixed games immensely more than NL Hold’em or even PL Omaha.
Below are five reasons I prefer mixed games over NL Hold’em. While my personal choice may not be the best for everyone, some of you may benefit from learning games other than NL Hold’em.
I Didn’t Learn Texas Hold’em Until I Was 28
When I grew up, poker was Five Card Draw and Seven Card Stud and variation of both. I remember watching some old WSOP specials on TV in my teens but I didn’t pay a lot of attention.
The first experience “playing” Texas Hold’em was the old World Series of Poker Deluxe Casino Pack game from the 1990’s. Frankly, I found the game boring and ended up playing more Omaha and Stud than Hold’em.
It wasn’t until 2003 that I actually attempted to “learn” Texas Hold’em following Chris Moneymaker’s win at the World Series of Poker. I still didn’t enjoy it as well as other games, but the landscape of poker was changing and so I figured I’d try.
Wider Array of Life Experience Playing Mixed Games
When I started playing live poker in casinos around 2006, I quickly noticed the significant age gap between Hold’em players and mixed game players. At the time, there were a lot of “younger” players getting into the game and a lot of them had the “I know everything” type of attitude.
The times that I played mixed games, I was often the “young kid” at the table – and I was 30 pushing 31 at the time. Not to say that the older players didn’t have carry themselves like they knew everything, but the difference was that they had the life experience to act that way.
Early on, I became friendly with a couple of older players who not only helped me improve my game but also educated me in the realities of being a poker player. They helped me to take an objective look at the game, the industry and even myself as a player.
There’s nothing like sitting down to a Stud table and being the youngest player by 30 YEARS. However, the stories you hear from these players are sometimes worth the price of admission.
Mixed Games are Less Swingy
The nature of limit poker makes my headline appear false but from my personal experiences, those that play limit poker on a regular basis do not have the massive bankroll swings that you see with NL Hold’em or PLO players.
Will they take more beats? Absolutely. But there are so many times that I have heard players complain about building massive stacks only to lose them in a single crushing cooler of a hand. Or there are other players that lose stack after stack for a prolonged period and go broke.
That’s not to say limit players don’t have swings or go broke, but the swings are typically not as massive. The most you can lose in a single hand is 20 bets (25 in some casinos) in limit poker as opposed to your entire stack in NL or PLO.
A Lot of Players Still Suck at Limit Poker
Texas Hold’em is the king of poker and there’s little chance that will change in the near future. Many players turn to Pot-Limit Omaha as their next game of choice due to its similarities to Texas Hold’em.
For many players, learning limit games are an afterthought or they are doing it because they are tying to broaden their horizons. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of great limit players out there but your advantage over a standard group of randoms is going to be greater in limit poker than NL Hold’em or even PLO due to the fact that many are still learning or dabble in the games.
You Have Multiple Potential Revenue Streams
Just like in investing, it is a good idea to diversify in poker. Playing NL Hold’em or PLO is fine, but your opportunities for profit are not as great now as they were even five years ago.
When you start to expand your horizons, you open yourself up to a whole world of potential revenue streams. Seven Card Stud, Stud 8 or Better, Omaha Hi-Lo, Badugi, Triple Draw, HORSE and even games like Razz and Open Face Chinese have tons of potential for competent players.
Those that know multiple games have the opportunity to pick and choose when and where they play and this can also help with losing streaks. Having trouble turning a consistent profit in $1-$2 NL? Maybe sit down and play some $5-$10 Stud or Omaha Hi-Lo.
When you diversify your poker knowledge, it’s equal to investing in your poker future. You aren’t sure when it will pay off, but with the right training and planning, it will help supplement your bankroll.