Texas Hold ‘em Betting: Chips and Limits

A huge component of learning how to play Texas Hold ‘em is mastering the process of betting. This poker variant focuses just as much on betting as it does on card play, so you’ll want to have a clear understanding of the way it works before you tackle your first online game. There are four major variations of Texas Hold ‘em, and they all revolve around the different forms of betting.


No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em poker is much like it sounds – there’s no limit to the amount you can bet. However, there is a minimum. In this form of poker, the minimum bet is determined by the size of the big blind. Players can always bet more – up to all of their chips if they so choose.

Once a bet has been made, the minimum amount you can raise in No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em is the size of the last bet. For example, if your opponent bets $10 and you want to raise, the minimum amount you can put in the pot is $20. In general, the minimum buy-in for a game of No-Limit Hold ‘em is the equivalent of 20 big blinds, with a maximum of 100 big blinds.

Fixed-Limit Texas Hold ‘em Fixed-Limit Texas Hold ‘em is the second most popular form of this variant of poker. In this type of Hold ‘em, players use pre-determined fixed betting limits that they cannot exceed. During pre-flop and the flop, all bets and raises must be the same amount as the big blind. The size of bets and raises doubles on the turn and the river.

In Fixed-Limit Hold ‘em, there is also a limit on the number of raises you can make during each betting round. Once that amount has been met, the betting is capped. Generally the cap is set at four bets (bet, raise, re-raise and cap), although it varies.

Pot-Limit Texas Hold ‘em Pot-Limit is a sort of hybrid between the No-Limit and Fixed-Limit variations of Texas Hold ‘em. In this form of poker, the minimum bet must be the size of the big blind, and players can bet up to the size of the pot if they so choose.

The size of the pot is determined by adding together the active pot, all the bets on the table and the amount the active player must call before raising. Any amount in between the big blind and the size of the pot is also a legal bet. This form of Texas Hold ‘em is mostly popular in large tournaments.

Spread Limit Texas Hold ‘em In Spread Limit Texas Hold ‘em, players can bet any amount within a given range. For example, if the poker game has a 10-100 spread limit, the minimum bet on any round is 10 and the maximum bet is 100. Even is a player were to bet 50, the most any other player can raise is 100. If a players raises, other players must raise that amount or higher up to the limit. For example, if the player to your left raises 20, you must raise that amount or higher even if you were only planning on raising the minimum 10. This type of betting structure is most common in cash games.

Texas Hold ‘em Chips

With chips serving as the lifeblood of any poker game, players will spend their entire time at the table trying to collect more and more chips. These small clay disks represent the amount of money a player has to wager with, and more importantly, how much money they will be able to head home with at the end of the day. During online play, chips will exist only as a graphical representation of the real thing, but at a brick-and-mortar casino or card room, there are some things to remember about these small monetary discs.

Know the Denominations: At any casino, poker chips will be separated into several different colors to help players distinguish between the different denominations each one represents. As a player, it is important that you are instantly able to recognize the value of each individual chip color to prevent yourself from betting more (or less) than you intended, know how much money is in the pot at a glance and properly gauge how many chips your opponents may be holding in their stack at any given moment.

Know How to Bet: When making or calling a bet, there is a certain procedure that should be followed. First, count out the number of chips that you need to bet, call or raise, and then announce your intentions to the table and slide the total amount of your bet into the center of the table. This is particularly important if you plan to raise, as simply sliding out more chips than the current bet without announcing a raise will be treated as a call in most casinos.

Read into Your Opponents’ Chips: Like every other aspect of the game, the way in which players handle, stack and use their chips can provide players with insight into a player’s thought process and hand strength. Though this is not always the case, aggressive players tend to stack their chips higher than most because it makes it easier to send big stacks into the pot. Conversely, tighter players often keep their most valuable chips hidden on the bottom of the chips stacked in the back of their bankroll. Players that fiddle with their chips when considering, making or calling a bet may be working through nerves, which could denote weakness as well.

Common Betting Strategies


The general strategy when betting is that you should place a bet when you have a good hand and fold when you do not. Your betting strategy should be based on this simple idea. However, once you become more comfortable with the game of Texas Hold ‘em you can begin to use some common betting strategies to improve your play:

Stealing Blinds: Players who find themselves in a late position pre-flop may use this strategy in an attempt to win uncontested blinds. This strategy generally works because it could cause the blinds to fold, whereas if you had called, the blinds would check. This strategy won’t win you a lot of money, so it’s best used when you want to end a hand quickly.

Doubling Up: This tactic can only be used in Fixed-Limit poker. It involves putting an additional bet on top of a nearby raiser. Doubling up forces other players to face two bets at once and is typically used when you have a strong hand. In the end, it get backs to the basic strategy of betting when you have strong hands.

Check Raising: This strategy is used to lure your opponents into the bet so you can raise them back. By checking, you lure the other players into a false sense of security so you can then raise them and increase the pot. In essence, it’s a bluff.

Stealing: If you are the last player to act in a round and the previous player checked, you can bet to steal the pot. Do not use this strategy too often, or the other players will catch on.

Squeezing: Also known as a “squeeze play,” this strategy can only be used in No-Limit or Pot-Limit variations of Texas Hold ‘em. You can squeeze when one player raises and a second calls – you can then bet hard over the top of both. This strategy is intended to intimidate the first player, who will be out of betting position against two players, and induce a fold. This play should not be made routinely, as it can cost you a lot of money if it’s done improperly. Squeezing is generally used with a weak hand against a loose, aggressive raiser and a passive caller.