Betting Rules for No-limit Poker

You've heard of no limit poker and it seems simple enough, but you're not entirely sure of the betting rules. Here is the basic information you need to understand how no limit betting works in poker games.

No Limit, Not High Stakes

No limit does not necessarily mean high limit. In the old days of poker before no limit hold'em became a phenomenon, no limit poker was the highest stakes form of poker you could play.

Today, however, live poker rooms offer no limit games that you can buy in for as little as $40, and online games for even much smaller amounts.

"No-limit" simply refers to the structure of the betting.

Structure Rules

A no limit structure means that you can bet as much as you want at any time. The only exception is that you must bet at least the size of the big blind, and if you raise, you must raise at least the same amount as the prior raise or bet. If someone bets $100 and you wish to raise, you must raise to at least $200, not $175 or $150.

All-In Rules

You can also only bet as much as you have in front of you. This is known as "table stakes". Betting your entire stack of chips is known as going "all-in", and it can be the most exciting move in no limit poker. Any opponent can call your all-in even if they don't have as many chips as you. Those players can simply only win the pot up to the amount they were able to match. The rest is returned to the all-in player, or if there are other players with more chips than the short player, a side pot is created.

Play in No Limit

In no limit hold'em, bet sizes tend to escalate quickly. This is because pre-flop bets are generally made based on the size of the big blind (2xBB, 3xBB, 4xBB, etc.) while on the flop and beyond, bets are generally made based on the size of the pot (1/3 the size of the pot, half the pot, the size of the pot, more than the size of the pot). Since the pot grows with each betting street, it's not hard for a player to be all-in by the river unless the players are extremely deep-stacked.