Am I bored with hold'em?
I've been thinking lately about how when I first got interested in poker, one of the things that attracted me most to the game was how new and different it was. After all, when you do anything for the first time, it's always going to be interesting just because of the novelty of it.
But the more I play, the more I realize how all of the different ways of playing poker can help keep the game fresh and exciting even for those who have played for a long time.
I started out playing sit-n-gos almost exclusively, and from there moved over into cash games and then eventually tournaments. Along the way I decided I wanted to become more of an all-around player, too, and so read books and learned how to play all of the different games besides no-limit hold'em.
While I have my favorite games to play, I still like to "mix it up" sometimes and play less familiar games, too. For instance recently in Spa we had a deuce-to-seven single draw tournament. Some might hear "deuce-to-seven single draw" and think that sounds more like a drinking game than a kind of poker. But it's a great game, and we had great fun playing it. The fact is, you can actually find a lot of joy in trying and learning new games.
So lately on PokerStars I've been playing a lot of mixed games -- and with mixed results (no pun intended!) -- although I did manage to win the Weekly 8-game on Stars twice. I also took second in the 8-game event at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo last spring that Chris Moneymaker won.
I still wouldn't say I'm particularly great at the mixed games, but just by learning some fundamentals it is definitely possible to go deep in these mixed game tournaments since a lot of players only know a couple of the games well.
In fact one interesting phenomenon that I've noticed happening in 8-game events is how when no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha come around -- in other words, the games with which I'm most familiar -- they seem really boring compared to the other games. There's a lot more folding and less action, whereas in the limit games you are playing more hands and making more decisions.
I think also if you're strictly a no-limit hold'em player you might discover that when playing the limit games (especially live) you'll find the games more fun to play because the players who sit at those tables tend to be a little more animated and sociable, generally speaking. You'll also probably encounter a greater variety in players' ages at the limit tables -- with some older players mixed in -- which can make things more interesting, too, as you meet different kinds of people.
Now I'm still mainly a no-limit hold'em player, don't get me wrong. No-limit hold'em is "in my heart and kidneys" (as we say in Belgium). But I love how poker provides so many other ways to play and thus can help keep the game seem new.
Matthias de Meulder is a member of Team PokerStars Pro