Poker Basics: Betting Structures
Poker comes in three flavors: Fixed Limit, Pot Limit
and No Limit
(the kind you see most often on TV). We also cover High-Low Split
in the next section.
In Fixed Limit Poker, all bet sizes are pre-determined. For example, all bets during the first two rounds of a $5/$10 Hold'em game are in increments of $5. Jim bets $5, and John can fold, call, or raise only to $10. The last two rounds are in increments of $10. Similarly, all bets in the first two rounds of a $2/$4 game of Seven Card Stud are in increments of (you guessed it) $2, while the final three rounds are at $4.
Seven-Card Stud has an interesting anomaly. If any player shows a pair on fourth street, for that round only, players have the option of betting either the lower or higher limit. Don't worry about remembering this, the GamesGrid Poker software will do it for you.
In limit games, the number of bets per round is capped at four. Pride bets $5, Envy raises to $10, Greed re-raises to $15, and Sloth caps the betting at $20. No further raising is possible within this round. GamesGrid offers Fixed Limit versions of all the games we carry. Games are listed by their betting limits: $1/$2, $2/4, etc. The minimum buy-in for most limit games is 10 times the lower limit.
In Pot Limit Poker, players may bet any amount up to that which is currently in the pot. Say there is $20 in the pot after one round of betting. The player opening the second round may bet any amount up to $20. If he does bet $20, producing a pot of $40, the next player may call the present bet ($20), and then raise the amount of the current pot including the call ($60), for a total bet of $80.
Pop Quiz: Suppose Envy does bet $80. What is the maximum possible bet that that Greed can make as the next player in line? (Try to come up with an answer before peeking below.)
Greed is faced with a bet of $80, which he can call. Once he does, the total amount on the table will be $20 (in the center pot), plus $20 (in front of Pride), plus $80 (in front of Sloth), plus $80 (in front of Greed). That's a total of $200, which is also his maximum allowable raise. So he is allowed to call $80 and raise up to $200, for a total bet of $280. Pot Limit can get expensive quickly.
There is no cap on betting action in Pot Limit games. Raise and re-raise until someone is all-in. GamesGrid offers Hold'em, Omaha and Draw poker variations at Pot Limit stakes. Pot Limit games are listed by blind size and maximum buy-in. The minimum buy-in for Pot Limit games is 20 times the big blind, and the maximum buy-in is 100 times the big blind. So, a Pot Limit Omaha game with blinds of $2 and $5 will be listed as: Pot Limit Omaha, $2/$5 ($500 max).
No Limit Poker is the easiest structure to describe (and probably the hardest to master). No limit is what you've seen on TV, it may be the reason you're here. Are you ready for the rules? Here they are: Any player may bet all his chips at any time.
There is no cap on betting action in No Limit games. Raise and re-raise until someone is all-in. GamesGrid offers Hold'em at No Limit stakes. No Limit games are listed by blind size and maximum buy-in. The minimum buy-in for Pot Limit games is 20 times the big blind, and the maximum buy-in is 100 times the big blind. So, a No Limit Hold'em game with blinds of $2 and $5 will be listed as: No Limit Hold'em, $2/$5 ($500 max).