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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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The "H" in H.O.R.S.E with Bill Chen

24 Jun 2007

By Aaron Todd

While the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the World Series of Poker has increased the visibility of mixed games, there are plenty of poker fans who only know about poker because of televised coverage, which has focused almost exclusively on No Limit Hold'em.

As part of our coverage of the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the WSOP, we're examining each game played in H.O.R.S.E., starting with Limit Hold'em on the first day of the five-day tournament and ending with Seven Stud Eight or Better on the tournament's final day.

We'll talk with five professional players who will share their wisdom on how to play the game and how it fits into the overall structure of a H.O.R.S.E. tournament.

Day One: Limit Hold'em
There aren't many people who play Limit Hold'em better than Bill Chen. Chen burst onto the poker scene last year when he won two WSOP events, including a $3,000 Limit Hold'em event.

An endorsement deal with PokerStars followed, and soon after the Series ended, he published The Mathematics of Poker with Jerrod Ankenman.

CCT: Other than the basic rules and structure of the game, what is the first lesson a player should learn about Limit Hold'em?

Bill Chen: The idea of Limit Hold'em, after you learn the basics, is knowing when to get bets in. You can only bet a fixed amount, so you have to be able to get all your value bets. Maximizing the number of bets you get in there with the best hand is the most important thing, and knowing the threshold of when to value bet and when not to value bet.

CCT: What is the most common mistake that players, even experienced players, make in Limit Hold'em?

Bill Chen: There are a couple, and they're related. I think a lot of players fold their weak hands a little too much at the end of a hand and get involved in too many hands to begin with.

CCT: Do you need to catch cards to play well in Limit Hold'em? Or can you chase people out of pots with well-timed bluffs?

Bill Chen: I don't think Limit Hold'em is a game of stealing. It's mostly about maximizing the number of bets in the pot. Now and then you do bluff, but you sort of bluff to balance your value bets.

CCT: Are people generally better or worse at playing Limit Hold'em than they are at the other games in H.O.R.S.E.? Why?

Bill Chen: I think they are better. People have had much more exposure to Hold'em That's not to say they play well, but they play better.

CCT: How important is Limit Hold'em in the overall structure of a H.O.R.S.E. tournament? Can you be a good H.O.R.S.E. player and be really bad at Limit Hold'em?

Bill Chen: You play so many more hands in a half an hour of Hold'em than the other games that you can't really be a good H.O.R.S.E. player if you aren't a good Limit Hold'em player.

CCT: Conversely, if you are an excellent Hold'em player, how does that impact your chances in a H.O.R.S.E. tournament?

Bill Chen: If you're just a good Hold'em player, you'll probably be giving up too much in the other games.

Check back tomorrow, when we'll have an analysis of Omaha Hi-Low.

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