Hold'em Betting Rules: No-Limit, Limit, Pot-Limit

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Even though No-Limit Texas Hold'em is the most popular form of poker being played today, there are still many players who would rather play a Limit or Pot-Limit variant instead.

In the world of poker, the popularity of No-Limit games is a relatively recent development. For many years poker was a Limit or Pot-Limit game.

No-Limit only really took off once Doyle Brunson and his crew introduced the game to Las Vegas casinos.

Ever since, No-Limit has steadily increased in popularity, exploding into the spotlight with the 2003 Chris Moneymaker won. Given that it's the most popular betting variation, it only makes sense to explain it first.

 

No-Limit Texas Hold'em

People are drawn to No-Limit because of its unique mix of skill, chance and action, and because you can bet all of your chips at any point during the hand.

In Texas Hold'em, players are always faced with the ability to choose one of three options:

  • Check (or call).
  • Bet (or raise).
  • Fold. (In a scenario where you can check, folding makes no sense, but it's still an option.)

 

  1. To call is simply to match the previous bet made (a check is the same thing, only when no bet has been made: in other words, a check is a call for free).
  2. To fold is to throw away your hand and wait until the next deal to play again. Folding is always free.
  3. If there has been no bet made yet, you have the option to bet. Once a bet is made, players to follow now have the option to raise the bet.
  4. In No-Limit a minimum bet is equal to the size of the big blind, while a maximum bet is the total amount of all of your chips. (Only chips that were included in your stack before the cards were dealt for that hand count, meaning you can't add (or remove) chips during a hand.)
  5. Once a bet has been made, the minimum you can raise is the size of the last bet. So if your opponent bets $5, the minimum raise you can make is $5 (for a total bet of $10). Again, the maximum raise is the total of whatever you have in front of you.
  6. How big a No-Limit Hold'em cash game is played is determined by its blind size. A $1/$2 game will have $1/$2 blinds, and the buy-in will vary from poker room to poker room.
  7. Generally the minimum buy-in will be 20 big blinds (so $40 in our example), and the maximum will be 100 big blinds ($200), though there are some casinos that spread games with no maximum buy-in.

 

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Fixed-Limit Hold'em

The second most popular form of Texas Hold'em is Limit.

Whereas No-Limit is a game of brute force where players play big stacks and run up huge bluffs, Fixed Limit Hold'em is a more subtle, gentleman's game where players look to exploit small edges: a game of finesse and well-timed aggression.

 

  1. Unlike in No-Limit where you can bet all your chips whenever you want, Limit Hold'em plays with fixed betting limits.
  2. The size of the game is determined by the bet size. If you are playing in a $4/$8 game the small bet is $4 and the big bet $8. The blinds will be $2 and $4. The big blind is always equal to the size of the small bet.
  3. Play proceeds as it would in any Hold'em game; however, you bet and raise in increments. Before the flop and on the flop you bet in increments of the small bet. For example:
    • If you were the first to bet, you can only bet $4, and the next person could call or raise to a total of $8. Any player wanting to reraise after that can make it a total bet of $12.
    • On the turn and river players bet in increments of the big bet. If you were to bet the turn it would be $8 and to raise it would be $16, etc.
  4. In Fixed-Limit Hold'em there is a set number of raises you can make before the betting is capped. Although it can vary from room to room, action is typically capped at four or five bets (always check the house rules before playing your first hand).
  5. When betting is capped, it means that the players no longer have the option to raise; they can only call or fold until the next street is dealt.

 

Pot-Limit Hold'em

Pot-Limit Hold'em is a game in between  No-Limit and Fixed-Limit. You can't bet your stack whenever you want, but you can bet however much is in the pot at the time.

How you determine the maximum bet is by counting all the money in the pot and all of the bets on the table, including any call you would make before raising. (It sounds more complicated than it really is.)

 

Two examples for you:

  1. You're first to act on the flop with a pot of $15. You have the option to check or bet. You can bet anywhere from as little as the amount of the big blind, to the full amount of the pot ($15). Any bet in between is a "legal bet."
  2. You're second to act on the flop with a pot of $15. The first player bets $10. You now have the option to fold, call ($10) or raise.
    • Your minimum raise is equal to the amount of the previous bet. In this hand your minimum raise is $10 ($10 + $10 for a total bet of $20).
    • Your maximum raise is the amount of the pot. To do this, add up the pot + the bet + your call ($15 + $10 + $10 = $35). You are allowed to bet that total amount in addition to your call, meaning your total bet is $45 ($10 for the call + $35 for the size of the pot).
    • You can raise any amount in between the minimum and maximum raise amounts.

Pot-Limit Hold'em is not very popular, and is mostly seen only in some large tournaments (such as the WSOP), but the Pot-Limit betting structure is used in Pot-Limit Omaha.

But because Pot-Limit Omaha is rapidly becoming one of the most popular poker variations, it's a good idea to get acquainted with the Pot-Limit structure anyway.

 

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Additional Texas Hold em Rules

 

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Johno 2012-11-26 21:47:35

#David winsor, yeah its allowed to show your cards if your the last person to act in an all in situation

big slick 2012-11-21 00:45:16

typo
Does player B have the option to raise player C

big slick 2012-11-21 00:42:25

Q:
player A checks
player B checks
player C bets $50
action goes back to player A
player A goes all in for $67
Does player c have the option to raise player C

Larry 2012-10-21 16:00:36

I was told in the second and subsequent rounds of betting, if you want to bet more than the big blind it must be in incraments of the big blind. ie: If the big blind is 4 you can not open the betting round with 5,6 or7, you must bet 8. How about 9, 10 etc?

nw 2011-12-12 09:10:13

can you please add an official ruling on the "under-raise" rule to your website. no one seems to be clear on it, dealers included, personally i find it blatantly straight forward, but can never find it in the poker rules on any website.. (need to to prove people wrong) :))

abdool 2011-11-14 00:09:28

On a table of 10, two guys are heads up and they play till the river. After the last betting stage the one player exposes his hand to claim the pot and the other player mucks since he lost. Can we as the observing players request to see the hand that was mucked?

David Perez 2011-10-08 02:52:20

Guys I just want to know which rules you apply when someone bets before his turn on texas hold'em tournaments and cash games. I will appreciate any comments on this matter.

UnclePhilly 2011-08-09 03:38:21

In no-limit hold-em if an all-in bet is greater than 1.5 of the original bet is it considered a raise?

Example: Post-flop; Player-A bets $500, Player-B calls, Player C goes all-in for $800. Can Player-A re-raise?

Where is this rule published where I can read it?

Melissa 2011-07-01 07:57:51

On The Big Game, it was pot-limit before the flop and then no-limit after the flop. How is the pot-limit calculated? My husband says that if the blinds are $100 - $200 and 3 people folded and then if someone raises say $1000 then the next person betting wanted to raise the pot it would also include the $200 from those that folded. I say it would only include what was in the pot. Who is right?

Lynette 2011-03-05 17:00:04

are big and little big blinds forfitted to an all in call that is small then the big blind and has the winning hand