Home Poker Tournaments – No Limit Betting/Raising

Home Poker Tournaments – No Limit Betting/Raising

One of the great moments in a No Limit Holdem tournament comes when you hear a player announce that he/she is “All-In”. In No Limit poker, players are allowed to back up their hands with every chip they have available. While there is no limit on the maximum a player is allowed to bet, this doesn’t mean that there are no rules governing betting in No Limit holdem.

Before the Flop:
There are two forced bets, the blinds. Anyone wanting to see the flop must match the bet of the big blind by “calling”. Players may decline to play the hand and fold, or they may really like their cards and decide to raise.

The minimum raise on this betting round is double the big blind. Players may bet more than that, but they cannot bet less. For example, the blinds are $200 and $400. A player wishing to raise may not make the bet total $500. They may call for $400, or raise for $800 or more.

After the Flop:
Once the flop has been dealt, players in the hand are allowed to “check” if there is no bet before them. If a player would like to bet, they place something called a bring-in bet that must be at least the size of the big blind. In our example, where the big blind is $400, the bring-in bet must be at least $400. It may be $410. It may be $500.

This is a bring-in bet, not a raise, and doesn’t need to follow the same rules as a raise.

Raising on any Round:
In order to raise in No Limit holdem, you must double the bet made before you. Here is an example:

> small blind posts $200
> big blind posts $400
> #3 wants to raise. The bet in front of him is for $400, so he must at least double that amount. He can raise $400 or more, making the total bet $800 or more.

This becomes less clear when players are re-raising. For example:

> small blind posts $200
> big blind posts $400
> #3 raises $600, making the total bet $1,000
> #4 wishes to re-raise. The bet before him is a $600 raise. He must raise at least $600 more, making the total bet $1,600.

There is an unlimited amount of re-raises in no limit poker. In limit poker betting rounds are often capped at four bets per round. This is not the case in no limit where players can re-raise each other until one runs of out chips to raise with.

Verbal statements are binding. If a player declares an action, they are bound to it.


What is a “string bet”?

In no limit poker, players can raise by performing one of two actions. They can announce the amount that they are raising, and then take their time putting the chips into the pot using as many hand motions as necessary.

Or, they may place a set of chips in the pot in one single motion.

They may not announce a raise, and then repeatedly go from their chip stack to the pot, adding chips each time. This is a string bet, and it is not allowed. Players may try to do this so that they can read their opponents as they add chips, adding until it becomes apparent they will not be called.

In a tournament I told a player I was calling his bet and raising him more chips. He said that is illegal. Is that true?

That’s true. It is illegal. Players are given one action per turn, and verbal declarations are binding. So, once you declare that you are calling, that’s what you’ve committed yourself to doing. Calling.

It seems trivial, and in some friendly games it might be. But, as a matter of proper procedure, in money games it only takes a moment to announce your intention correctly and will save you grief in the future. Simply say “I raise”.