Types of Betting Limits in Texas Holdem Poker
Like other poker games, Texas Hold'em is meant to be played with real money. It's gambling, and it's the betting that defines the game. When you start to play Texas Hold'em, you will encounter three versions of the game based on their betting structures:
- Fixed Limit - Pot Limit - No Limit
Every Texas Hold'em table falls into one of these categories. Before sitting down at a table, make sure it is in the betting type category you want to play in.
Let's have a look at each one of these betting structures in turn.
This is the "safest" of all three betting structures and the one most beginners play. Betting limits are designated by a lower and higher limit, usually given as $low-$high. For example, a $10-$20 fixed limit table means $10 is the minimum bet and $20 is the maximum for that table.
There are four rounds of betting in Hold'em. In the first two rounds (preflop and postflop), betting is limited to the lower limit. In the last two rounds (after the turn and after the river), betting is put at the higher limit.
Further, in a fixed limit game, there can only be one bet and three raises per round. So if the minimum bet of $10 is made preflop, three raises can be made at $10 each, for a total of a $40 bet for each player who stays in that round.
On the turn and river, bets are made at the upper limit, or $20 in our example. After one bet and a maximum of three raises, every active player has put $80 into the pot.
Like a fixed limit game, pot limit has a minimum wager designated for each table. But here the maximum bet is the total money in the pot as the game progresses. If you want to raise, the minimum is twice the last bet made, and the maximum is the amount already in the pot.
So if the minimum bet is $10 and there is $60 in the pot, you can call at $10, or raise anywhere between $20 and $60.
You can also go all-in, that is, bet all the chips you have left. You can go all-in even if you don't have enough to make the minimum raise required. But you are not eligible to win more than you are "in" for.
Clearly, pot limit games are more challenging than fixed limit. The risks are bigger, but so are the potential winnings.
There is also a minimum wager here. But in no limit Hold'em, the biggest raise you can make after the initial blind bet is all the chips you came with. In other words, you can bet all your money at any time in the hand.
Naturally, this makes no limit games the most exciting and riveting of the Hold'em variations. Bluffing, raising wars and slow playing can become very effective tools that win you big money, or costly mistakes that bring disaster. This is the type of Hold'em played in the World Series of Poker.
Due to the betting cap, it's easier to protect your money in fixed limit tables. This is why you should stick to them when starting out in poker. When you grow more confident and experienced, try pot limit tables. You'd be up against better players then. Finally, play no limit for a real taste of Texas Hold'em as the pros play it. Play in freerolls tournaments if you can, or pay to join in a real poker tournament.