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There are three main betting formats to choose from when playing poker. Limit, Pot Limit and No Limit.

These formats may vary a little from one game type to another but for now we are going to explain to differences as they apply to the most popular game, Texas Holdem, exact betting structures for the other games will be explained in detail on the relevant rule pages.

Limit

In limit games the bet amounts are fixed by the table stakes. So on a $2/$4 table the bet would be $2 in the first two rounds and $4 in the last two. If a player wishes to raise they can only raise by the bet amount for that round. So if it's $2 to call it would cost $4 to raise.

There can be three raises of betting in each round and every player gets a chance to re-raise after a raise, except the third raise.

To start a hand -:

The player to the left of the dealer button (more in Holdem Rules)would have to bet a 'Small' blind of half the small bet ie: $1

The next player to the left would have to bet a 'Big' blind of the small bet ie: $2.

The Hole Cards would then be dealt. (Hole cards are the two cards that only you can see)

Starting with the player to the left of the big blind each player must decide whether to call or fold. To call costs one small bet. Once at least one player has called you also have the option of raising by one small bet.

Let's imagine that we have 6 players seated. Players A B C D E and F

Pre-Flop

A is the Small Blind and bets $1, B is the Big Blind and bets $2. The hole cards are dealt.

C doesn't like his cards (2c,4s)and folds, D is a bit more optimistic(8s,7s) and calls $2, E calls (Kd,Jd) and F folds(4h,7d).

The Small Blind (A) can now either add $1 to their blind to call or fold. His cards(Ah,Qh) are good so he calls.

Now the Big Blind (B) only has to check to see the flop (first three community cards) as his blind matches the bet so far. He thinks he has very good cards(Qd,Qc) though, so he decides to raise $2. The bet now stands at $4

The betting must now go round each player remaining in the pot again. The choice is to bet another $2, fold or raise another $2.

D folds, E calls $2 and A calls $2.

The Flop

The flop is dealt (Ks,Jc,9d)and the next betting round begins.(again with the first player to the left of the dealer button).

In this and subsequent rounds the choices are to call, raise, fold or check. To check is to make no bet. You can only check if there has been no bet so far in that round.

A checks (with no hand), B calls $2( with a pair of Queens) and E Raises $2(Two pair Kings and Jacks)

A folds, B calls.

The Turn

The turn card is dealt (Qs). Now though the starting bet increases to $4

B calls $4 with his three of a kind , E raises $4 with his Two Pair, B reraises $4, E loses some confidence and calls.

The River

The river is dealt (Kh)

B checks , E calls $4, B calls $4.

E's Full House beats B's Three of a kind and E takes the pot.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is! Try it on some Play Money Tables and you will soon get the hang of it

 

Pot Limit

In Pot Limit Games you have a minimum bet amount for each round which increases for the last two rounds just as in Limit games. You will sitil see games described as $1/$2, $5/$10 etc.

The difference is that you can raise by as much as is in the pot.

The maximum you can raise is worked out as follow

  • The amount in the pot from previous rounds, plus:
  • The amount called so far in this round, plus:
  • The amount you would have had to call

So if there is $10 in the pot and three calls of $1 you could raise by $14

At pot limit table there is normally a minimum and a maximum buy in. A buy in is the amount of money you bring to the table.

If a player raises by more chip than you have left you can still call all-in. That means you bet all your chips but get to see the hand through to the showdown without having to bet again.

When you are all-in you can only win an amount equal to your total bet, from each player. Any surplus is regarded as an extra pot and would go to the second highest ranking hand, and so on in the case of that player being all-in as well.

No Limit

No Limit is very similar to Pot Limit except that there is no limit on the size of a raise at any stage.

Players are free to go all-in (see Pot Limit) before they have even seen the flop and often do !

Again there is normally a minimum buy-in, and a maximum buy-in is commonplace.

This form of Poker is not for the faint hearted but can be very exciting. It is also the basis of most of the tournament games to be found online. These tournaments are a good intrduction to No Limit as you can buy in for as little as a dollar.

Bluffing and intimidation play a much larger part in both Pot Limit and No Limt than they do in Limit Poker

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