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no-limit texas hold'em rules

Texas Hold’Em Betting Rules: No-Limit vs Limit

This article is to help you understand the betting rules in No Limit Texas Hold’Em vs Limit Texas Hold’Em. Let’s get started.

But first, you need to understand how the game is played. 

Table position and the blinds

In Hold’Em, position refers to where you sit relative to the dealer button, which determines when it is your turn to act. The dealer button rotates clockwise after every hand.

Texas Hold'Em betting rules dealer button

Dealer button (Photo credit: Nintendere at German Wikipedia)

The big blind and small blind are forced bets that are placed into the pot before any cards are dealt. These bets are designed to elicit action. 

The player to the left of the dealer is the small blind and the next player to the left is the big blind. When the first round of betting ensues, the player to the left of the big blind is the first to act. This player’s position is called “under the gun.”

After the flop, and for each subsequent round of betting, the player in the small blind is the first to act and the player on the dealer button is the last to act, provided neither player has folded.

Texas Hold’Em betting rules

In all versions of Texas Hold’Em, players have three options: check/call, bet/raise, or fold. Checking is simply matching the previous non-bet while calling is simply matching the previous bet. Think of checking as a free call.

Betting involves putting chips into the pot—based on the specific rules to be discussed below—and raising is to increase the amount of a previous bet—again, based on the specific rules to follow.

Finally, folding is to discard one’s hand and wait for the next deal.

Now, let’s take a look at no-limit and limit Texas Hold’Em betting rules.

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No-Limit Texas Hold’Em betting rules

No-Limit Texas Hold’Em (NHLE) has gained considerable popularity with players who enjoy the unique combination of luck, skill, chance, and action and the incredible adrenaline rush that comes with placing all of one’s chips in the pot on one hand. One need only look at the increasing number of participants in various NLHE tournaments around the world—especially the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event—to see how popular this game has become.

In NLHE, the minimum bet size is the amount of the big blind. Thus, in a $5/$10 NLHE game, the minimum bet is $10. The maximum bet is a player’s total chip stack. 

The minimum raise must equal the previous bet or raise. So, if a player raises to $20 preflop, a subsequent raise must be the previous raise of $20 plus the big blind ($10) for a total of $30. Mind you, this is the minimum raise. Because this is no-limit, there is no maximum limit, so the maximum raise is your total chip stack.

Here’s a fun little NLHE all-star clip.

Limit Texas Hold’Em betting rules

In limit, or fixed-limit, Hold’Em, there are two bet sizes:

  1. The small bet, which is used preflop and on the flop.
  2. The big bet, which is used on the turn and river.

The big blind is equal to the small bet. So, in a $2/$4 Limit Hold’Em game, the blinds are $1/$2. 

Any raise is limited to the size of one bet, and there is a maximum of four bets per round. Putting in the forth bet is called “capping” the bet.

So, for example, a player can raise to $4 preflop, which can then be called or re-raised to $6 by another player. The next player can then re-raise to $8, capping the betting. From that point, the remaining players can only call or fold.

On the turn and river, the bets and raises are double. So if we’re playing $2/$4, the first player can bet $4 and, if the next players wishes to raise, he must make it $8. 

Watch a Limit Hold’em hand in action with this clip from Live at the Bike:

Straddle bets

A straddle bet is an optional blind bet made by the player to the immediate left of the big blind. This bet is twice the big blind. Some casinos permit sleeper straddles by other players or button straddles made by the player in the dealer position. The player making the straddle bet has the opportunity to act last preflop as is ordinarily the case with the big blind.

All-in and side pots

Given that players will not all have the same amount of chips, if a player wishes to call a bet or a raise and doesn’t have enough chips, s/he can go all-in. A player can also go all-in if s/he has enough to call the previous bet or raise and wants to raise but doesn’t have enough to constitute a full raise. In these situations, the next player can call or raise based on the all-in bet.

In this case, the dealer creates a side pot. The main pot is comprised of the all-in player’s total chips plus an equal amount from each player who is still in the hand and all of the chips in the pot by those who have already folded. The remaining chips are in the side pot, and the all-in player has no stake in this pot.

If another player goes all-in after creation of this side pot, then another side pot is created. Similarly, the second all-in player has no stake in the third side pot, and so forth.

Check out this compilation of top all-in poker hands.

Texas Hold'Em betting rules

Texas Hold’Em Poker betting rules etiquette

There are a few words of wisdom of which to take heed when playing any type of Texas Hold’Em.

  1. Pay attention to the action and do not bet “out of turn.” Not only is betting out of turn rude but it also gives other players who haven’t acted yet more information than those who have already acted.
  2. Do not angle shoot with string bets or string raises. These actions involve placing chips over the betting line and then getting more chips to add. Players who are notorious for angle shooting do so to gauge the reaction of other players in the hand. For more information, check out this article on the string bet and string raise.
  3. If you toss a single chip into the pot that is larger than the existing bet without announcing a raise, you are simply calling. If you want to raise, it’s always good practice to announce the amount of the raise before placing any chips into the pot.
  4. Don’t splash the pot, or throw chips into the pot. Doing so is not only unnecessary and rude but also complicates keeping track of who bet what. If you bet or raise, simply place your chips over the betting line and let the dealer take it from there.

We hope that this little tutorial answered some of your questions about Texas Hold’Em betting rules. Please share any comments below.

Until next time.

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Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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