Strategic Insights into 1/3 No Limit Hold’em: Elevate Your Poker Game

By David Huber
February 16, 2024

1/3 No Limit Hold’em is one of the most common stake levels for players who are looking to improve their game in a way in which they can turn an actual profit that is meaningful to them.

Often a stepping stone, or doorway, for competitive players considering playing poker part time for profit. If you can beat 1/3 No Limit Hold’em for a significant winrate, you might be able to justify labeling your poker activity as an actual “job.”

With this said, poker 1/3 is no joke in terms of the skill required to beat these stakes soundly. There are plenty of factors that might go into being able to dominate the game at $1/$3 stake levels. Some of these factors include table selection and game selection, which means you’ll constantly be tasked with finding players who are well below your skill level to compete against.

1/3 no limit holdem

Turning Pro at 1/3 No Limit Hold’em – Seek Advice from the Pros

If No Limit Texas Hold’em is a game you want to play for a living, then $1/$3 stakes are approximately the level many up and coming pros set as a benchmark to take the game very seriously.

There’s really no substitute for seeking out professional advice from NLHE players who offer their services through premium poker courses and poker training sites. The experience these poker coaching services bring to the table is second to none.

Sure, you will likely need to pay some monetary amount to access the educational material that these pros offer, but think of it as part of your own poker education. If a one-on-one coaching session is a bit too pricey for 1/3 No Limit Hold’em stakes, then consider opting-in to subscription services or paid coursework.

Some training sites have modules that let you browse through their catalog and filter instructional classes by poker variant, stakes level, and format. There are also a few subscription poker training services on the market that allow you access to a private poker study group, where you can improve in a group setting away from the tables.

Unless you can find a group of buddies with bottomless pockets who know nothing about basic poker strategy – to play against as frequently as possible – you’re going to want to take your skills to the highest possible level in order to beat the competition.

Some Considerations for “Turning Pro” in Poker (20 Questions)

There are a lot of considerations to take into account before deciding to “turn pro” and treat your poker gameplay as an actual job.

The list below includes about 20 questions. It is incomplete, but will hopefully serve as a general checklist for would-be, new poker pros.

What is your estimated winrate in the games you’re playing? Do you have a poker bankroll that is large enough to realize whatever positive expectation exists without having to constantly worry about “risk of ruin?”

Is the monetary edge over your opponents large enough to justify playing poker for profit to begin with? Will you be competing exclusively with your own funds or playing under a poker staking agreement?

If playing fully or partially with funds provided to you by a “backer,” what are the specifics of your relationship with that individual or funding group? What are the terms of the backing deal? Are your backers competent enough at poker that they can assist you with improving your own winrate at the stake levels (and in the poker variant) you’ll be playing?

How much time can you dedicate to actual poker playing? Will your planned schedule coincide with being able to find inferior action at the poker tables during those time slots? Is there any way you can keep any employment you already have while playing poker for profit part time?

Are you willing to dedicate enough time and resources to serious (and constant) poker study away from the tables? Will there be any friction between you and a significant other due to how much time you’ll need to spend playing and thinking about poker?

Can you consistently find games in which the risk of being cheated is minimal? Do you have methods for obtaining an account for your poker fund, depositing into it, and cashing out from it without having to expose yourself to being confronted while you have a lot of cash in your possession?

Do you already have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on retainer, or can you place one on retainer to keep track of tax commitments where applicable? What are the laws pertaining to poker play and poker winnings in the jurisdiction(s) you compete in?

Do you have a separate savings account that you can draw from during “down” stretches or “bad runs?” If so, how many months can you live on those savings without having to dip into your separate poker bankroll?

Are the live poker games you plan to play susceptible to being “shaken down,” “busted,” or otherwise “broken up” by authorities? Is there any drug use, alcohol abuse, or firearms present in these live games? If playing online, is the site or app you’re playing on licensed and accountable to local or state laws in your jurisdiction?

Again, this isn’t a full list of questions you should be asking yourself (and answering yourself) before turning pro. Every situation is different, and every circumstance includes an incalculable amount of variables that can shift in real time.

To summarize, please do a lot of homework (and poker study) before deciding to take on poker as a job.

Going Pro: Fixed Limit Poker Games

If you’re not ready to sign-up for the relatively large swings that No Limit Hold’em in store for all poker players, you might want to try your hand at the Fixed Limit format.

The great thing (or the horrible thing, depending on how you look at it) about Fixed Limit games is that all players in a hand are relatively restricted in the amount they can bet or raise on each street. There’s no going all-in by shoving a stack of 50 big bets into the pot when playing Fixed Limit games; not in Texas Hold’em, not in Omaha, and not in Seven Card Stud.

You won’t find many (if any) Fixed Limit games with the precise stake level of $1/$3 though. Most live cardrooms have a minimum stake level of $2/$4 or higher. It’s not uncommon to walk into a casino poker room and be forced to play a minimum of $3/$6, $4/$8 or even higher for Fixed Limit games.

On one hand, it may seem simple enough to “play solid” in a Fixed Limit format and rake in the profit. Maybe that’s true, but that will obviously depend on the skill level of your opponents.

After all, Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em is a solved game. Here’s a link to the answer key for heads-up Limit Texas Hold’em that was released by the University of Alberta way back in 2015.

If you’re playing Limit Texas Hold’em online, you are susceptible to being beaten by someone who has the solution (or the computing power via a separate software on another computer/app) that’s feeding your opponent real time gameplay suggestions.

If you’re going to play Fixed Limit games as a pro – especially online where no live poker tells exist – you’ll want to improve your skills to a level at which you can compete by playing as close to the solution as possible.

And although Fixed Limit poker swings might not be as drastic as those found in Pot Limit or No Limit formats, there’s a relativity element that depends entirely on the skill level (or hopefully lack thereof) of your opponents.

High Rake in Low Stakes Poker Games

Live casino poker rooms and private card rooms are forced to charge a high rake percentage relative to the stakes in lower level games. Revenue (or rake) per square foot of gaming space is an extremely powerful metric for the in-person gambling industry.

Even if a slot machine player is hitting an average of five bonuses per hour that last an average of two minutes each, that still represents approximately 50 minutes of six spins per minute. So 300 spins per hour at $1 per spin nets the casino about $30 per hour if the Return to Player (RTP) rate is 90 percent.

That’s $30 per hour with minimal (if any) need for human personnel to shuffle cards, award pots, and ensure each deal is performed correctly – in accordance with the rules of the specific game that is being played.

Furthermore, a poker table obviously takes up more physical space in a casino gaming area than a slot machine or two (or three or four). A live poker table that can deal 20-25 hands per hour of low stakes Texas Hold’em is going to be hard-pressed to rake in more than $100 per hour without a relatively high rake percentage.

Plus, the skills a human being needs to have in order to deal a live poker hand are, in my opinion, superior to the skills a slot attendant needs to perform – at least in most circumstances. As any casino-goer already knows, there’s quite a bit of automation involved in casino slot machine transactions.

The point is that, even though it’s not helpful to poker pros, rake fees are a necessary facet when playing live or online. For-profit poker players are required to have enough of an advantage over their opponents that they can still have a positive expectation even after the rake is taken. Simply being better than your opponents isn’t enough; you have to “crush” them as a pro.

Mixing Professional 1/3 No Limit Hold’em with Casual Home Games

Your poker home game buddies are unlikely to return — time after time — to get hosed by a friend who’s looking to extract every single strategical advantage over them. They’ll eventually seek to gain some form of benefit (that includes something of value) to justify metaphorically lighting their cash on fire by competing against one or more professionals for real money stakes on a routine basis.

And if you’re thinking about the possibility of exchanging some combination of drugs, alcohol, and sex to keep your very own grassroots suckers in the game, you might want to reconsider.

Word gets out.

Metaphoric “holes in pockets” attract the attention of loved ones. All it takes is a concerned friend or family member to decide it’s time for an “intervention” for you to personally run the risk of civil and/or criminal liability (if other means of intel don’t manage to scope you out sooner).

Play 1/3 No Limit Hold’em for Fun

There’s something to be said about having the luxury of not being forced into so many skill-based poker requirements when playing the game of poker for real money.

If you can afford the expense to your entertainment budget, a casino poker room game of 1/3 No Limit Hold’em should give you an opportunity for a couple of BIG WINS every so often if it’s a leisure activity that your pocketbook can withstand.

Play poker for fun if you can. It’s so much easier that way.

And if you MUST “turn pro,” please consult with poker pros who have “been there, done that” in terms of playing the game for a profit. Don’t ignore the advice they give you and — most importantly — prioritize the fundamental poker playing, table selection, game selection, study time, and financial discipline skills required to improve your chances of success.

Best of luck at your next 1/3 No Limit Hold’em poker game!



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David Huber poker author
Written By.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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