# Betting Structures in Poker

The betting structures, also known as betting limits, used in
poker have a significant impact on how you play the game. They
basically dictate the rules for how much you can bet or raise at
any given point, so they are obviously a fundamental part of any
poker game. Therefore, it’s very important that you fully
understand them.

There are five main betting structures that are used in
poker, which we have compiled for you in the list below. In this
article we’ve explained how each one of these works and added in
some additional examples where appropriate. The first three are
the most commonly used in the modern game, with no limit in
particular being very popular these days.

• Fixed Limit
• No Limit
• Pot Limit
• Cap Limit

## Fixed Limit (FL)

Quick Description:

There are fixed sizes for all bets and
raises.

### Detailed Description

Fixed limit, often abbreviated to FL, was traditionally the
most commonly used betting structure in the majority of poker
variants. It’s still popular now but no limit has become the
betting structure of choice for most players.

As the name suggests, players may only bet and raise in fixed
amounts when playing fixed limit. There are usually two betting
sizes in a game: the small bet and the big bet, and players are
typically limited to small bets in the early betting rounds and
big bets in the later betting rounds.

A good example of this can be found in the game of Texas
Hold’em, where small bet sizes apply in the pre-flop and flop
betting rounds, while big bet sizes apply in the turn and the
river betting rounds. In Seven Card Stud, players are limited to
small bet sizes in the first two betting rounds and big bet
sizes in the final three rounds.

The exact amount of these bet sizes is determined by the
stakes of the game. A game labeled as \$10/20 would equate to
small bet sizes of \$10 and big bet sizes of \$20. The big blind
is usually equal to the small bet, with the small blind being
equal to that amount cut in half. So in a \$10/\$20 fixed limit
Hold’em game, the blinds would be \$5 and \$10.

The first bet in any round must be exactly equal to the small
bet size (if an early betting round) or the big bet size (if a
later betting round). Any raises must also be exactly equal to
the relevant betting size too and the total number of raises in
any given betting round is usually limited to three. Once three
raises have been made, the remaining players only have the
option to fold or call.

Fixed limit is pretty straightforward, but we’ve provided the
following example scenarios to ensure that you fully understand
how it works in practice. These are all based on a \$10/\$20 game
of Texas Hold’em.

Pre-flop betting round (small bet sizes apply)

• Player A posts the small blind of \$5, Player B posts the big blind of
\$10.
• Player C is the first to act and they have three options.
1. Fold.
2. Call for \$10.
3. Raise. (Must be a raise of exactly \$10, for a
total of \$20)
Flop betting round (small bet sizes apply)

• Player A checks.
• Player B has two options.
1. Check.
2. Bet. (Must bet exactly \$10)
Turn betting round (big bet sizes apply)

• Player A bets \$20.
• Player B has three options:
1. Fold.
2. Call for \$20.
3. Raise. (Must raise exactly \$20, for a total of \$40)
River betting round (big bet sizes apply)

• Player A bets \$20.
• Player B raises \$20 to \$40.
• Player C raises \$20 to \$60.
• Player D raises \$20 to \$80.
• Player E may only call or fold, as the three raise cap has been met

Please note that when joining a fixed limit cash game,
there’s usually a minimum buy-in but no maximum. It doesn’t
really matter how much money a player sits down with because
they are always limited by the fixed bet sizes.

## No Limit (NL)

Quick Description:

Minimum size for bets and raises, but no upper limit.

### Detailed Description

No limit has become the most popular betting structure in
poker, particularly when it comes to Texas Hold’em, because it’s
viewed by many as being more exciting than fixed limit. There’s
also more complex thinking involved, as players don’t just have
to think about deciding if they should fold, bet, or raise. They
also have to think about their bet sizes, as no limit gives them
far more flexibility in this regard than a fixed limit game
would.

The strategy in no limit might be a little more complicated,
but the rules are not. In fact it could easily be argued that no
limit is the simplest betting structure of all. There are
minimum sizes for bets and raises but when it comes to the
maximum bet, your only restriction is that you can only bet up
to the amount of chips you have at the table.

The stakes for a no limit game are related to the size of the
blinds. A game labeled as \$2/\$4, for example, would see small
blinds of \$2 and big blinds of \$4. Players opening the betting
round must always bet at least the size of the big blind, and
players raising must always raise by at least the amount of the
previous bet or raise. They are the only minimums that apply
though. A player may always bet any amount between those
minimums and the amount they have at the table.

Although that really is all there is to the no limit betting
structure, it’s still useful to see some examples in order to
fully understand it. The following examples are all based on a
\$2/\$4 game.

Pre-flop betting round

• Player A posts the small blind of \$2, Player B posts the big blind of \$4.
• Player C is the first to act, with \$60 on the table, giving them one of
three options:
1. Fold.
2. Call for \$4.
3. Raise. Minimum raise is \$4, maximum raise is \$56 (for a total bet of all his \$60).
Flop betting round

• Player A checks.
• Player B, with \$100 on the table, has two options:
1. Check.
2. Bet. Can be any amount between the minimum of \$4 and all his \$100.
3. Raise. Minimum raise is \$4, maximum raise is \$56 (for a total bet of all his \$60).
Turn betting round

• Player A bets \$20.
• Player B raises to \$50.
• Player C, with \$90 on the table, has three options:
1. Fold.
2. Call for \$50.
3. Raise. Minimum raise is \$30 (the amount of the previous raise). Maximum raise is \$40 (for a total bet of \$90)

When joining a no limit cash game, there’s usually a minimum
and a maximum buy in. The maximum is usually an amount equal to
100 big blinds. There’s no limit to the amount you can have at
the table at any one time, as anything you win stays on the
table until you leave.

Please note that you’ll generally be able to buy back in to
the table maximum at any point you have less than the maximum
amount, except during an active hand.

## Pot Limit (PL)

Quick Description:

All bets and raises are limited by currentpot size.

### Detailed Description

Pot limit is one of the more complicated betting structures
in poker. It can be used for most variations of the game, but
it’s particularly common in Omaha.

The stakes for a game of pot limit are related to the size of
the blinds just as in no limit. So, again, a game labeled \$2/\$4
would see \$2 small blinds and \$4 big blinds. The rules regarding
the minimum amount you can bet and the minimum amount you can
raise by are also the same. There are differences regarding the
maximum amount you can bet or raise though.

In pot limit, the maximum amount you can bet or raise by is
determined by the size of the current pot. It’s not quite as
simple as just counting the chips that are already in the pot
though. The pot contains any bets made on the current betting
round, plus the amount you have to bet in order to call any
previous bet. So, to simplify things for you, the required
calculation looks like this.

Let’s look at a couple of examples to illustrate how this
calculation works in practice.

Pre-flop betting round

• Player A posts the small blind of \$2, Player B posts the
big blind of \$4.
• There are no chips in the pot at this point because it’s
the first round.
• There has been a total of \$6 in chips bet on the current
round.
• It is \$4 to call the current bet.
• The “pot limit” at this point is therefore \$0 + \$6 + \$4
= \$10.
• If Player C wishes to raise, he may raise by up to \$10.
Flop betting round

• There’s \$42 in the pot from the flop betting round.
• Player A bets \$25.
• Player B raises by the minimum \$25, for a total bet of
\$50.
• There has been a total of \$75 in chips bet on the
current round.
• It costs \$50 to call current the bet.
• The “pot limit” at this point is therefore \$42 + \$25 +
\$50 = \$117.
• If Player C wishes to raise, he may raise by up to \$117.

These two betting structures are far less common than the
three previously mentioned but there’s always a possibility that
you may come across them at some point, so it’s worth
understanding how they work.

Spread limit is effectively a compromise between the fixed
limit and no limit structures, as players’ bets and raises are
limited by a maximum amount. There’s some flexibility because
they don’t have to bet or raise by a fixed amount though.
Instead they must stick within a pre-determined range, known as

You might see a spread limit game with stakes of something
like \$2-\$6 for example. This would mean that bets and raises
must always be somewhere between \$2 and \$6. The spread usually
stays the same for each betting round and the lower end of the
spread is usually the size of the big blind.

### Cap Limit

Cap limit is played in largely the same way as no limit with
the only difference being that there’s a cap on the total amount
of money that each player may bet in any given hand. The cap
applies over all the betting rounds for each hand. A \$2/\$4 game
of cap limit might have a cap of \$100 which means that if a
player bets \$20 pre flop and \$40 on the flop, he would only be
able to bet a further \$40 on that hand in total.