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Betting Structures for Poker Games

Spread-Limit, Fixed-Limit, Pot-Limit, No-Limit Poker

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There’s no one rule of how to set up the betting in all games of poker. Depending on whether you’re playing in a casino or in a home game, you may encounter one of these four common structures.

Spread Limit
Most common in home games. In a spread-limit game, a player can bet any amount within some range – for instance $1-$5. Basically, it means the minimum any player can bet is $1, and the most anyone can bet or raise at one time is $5. The only other rule regards raising. If someone raises, you can only raise that much or higher. In other words, if the player to your left raises four dollars, you can’t raise just the $2 you were planning to, you’ve got to raise $4 or more.

Fixed Limit
This is what most people play in casinos. Simply, with fixed limit poker, the amount you can bet or raise is fixed for each round of betting. If you’re playing a $2-$4 fixed limit game, every player can only bet or raise $2 for the first few rounds (usually the first two) of betting, and can only bet or raise $4 for the last rounds of betting. It keeps it nice and simple.

Pot Limit
In pot limit games, the largest amount you can bet or raise is the amount that’s in the pot at that very moment. While at first pot-limit seems simple, it's actually probably the betting structure that confuses people the most, and can get pretty expensieve if if people keep doubling the pot.

No Limit
If you’ve watched Texas Hold’em on television, you’ve seen the world of no limit. It’s just what it sounds like: at any point, you can push all the chips you have in front of you as a bet. There’s absolutely no cap on how much money that is, other than it’s what you have on the table already.

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