At the start of any
game or hand of poker, the rules of play and especially the rules of betting
should already be known and agreed by all players. Betting is the major area
where problems and disputes arise.
Betting has two
main and one minor systems, Limit, Pot Limit and No
- Limit This indicates a fixed amount to bet in each
round. This cannot be exceeded. Pot size is thus manageable by all players.
This is what the vast majority of professionals play and is played nearly all
over the world.
- Pot Limit This means that the next bet or raise can
be an amount up to and including the current size of the pot. This can lead to
a rapidly expanding pot which may force players to use all their money in one
go (known as going all-in). A cooler version of this is Half-Pot
Limit which makes bigger pots! Pot Limit makes for many short hands and the
occasional very big one. Played in the UK and to a small degree in other
- No-Limit This is rare but is the form used for the
World Championship event in Las Vegas. As it says, there is no limit to what
you can bet. You will only experience this in tournaments
Each of the above
systems of betting also uses Antes, Blinds, Betting,
Calling, Checking and Raising in a predetermined
- Antes are used mostly for Draw and Stud Games to
create a pot before any cards have been dealt.
- Blinds These are bets before the cards are dealt
and used in Flop Games to force betting and make it necessary for all players
to act after the initial deal.
- Betting The round of betting usually starts with the
player to left of the dealer but in Stud Games it is the highest hand showing
that starts. If no bet has yet been made in a round then the player can
- Calling A player facing a bet from another player
can elect to Call that bet by putting an amount into the pot that is
equal to that bet.
- Checking If the first player to act in a round of
betting does not wish to make a bet then they can Check. Other players
following in the order of action can then also check so long as no one
has bet before them.
- Raising If a player faces a bet, they can
raise that bet by first calling it and then adding an amount at
least equal to it. (In Limit it will be equal to it)
Rules It is generally necessary to figure out a set of rules for
irregularities and going all-in before the game starts so that all
players can be agreed.
- Going All-In If you face a bet that is more than the
money you have in front of you then you can place that in the pot and say
"all-in". That amount will be matched by the others in the hand and any left
over will form a side pot for which the others will continue to play.
Your interest will only lie in the main pot.
- String Bets Making a bet must be a clear, precise
and one movement action. Moving two separate amounts of money into the pot as a
bet is forbidden unless a verbal announcement of the full amount was first
made. String Bets are disallowed and the player can only follow the last
bet. (check if the last player checked)
- Over Betting Betting more than the rules allow will
be reduced to the correct limit.
- Betting out-of-turn A bet out-of-turn can be an
attempt to bluff and must be enforced when that players turn comes in the
round. Other players are allowed to take advantage of this if they wish. It
acts as a deterrent against betting out-of-turn.