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Home Poker Tournaments – No Limit Betting/Raising by Michael Thomas

No-Limit Poker Rules for Home Tournaments

There is nothing more exciting than hearing the words “all in” when you are hosting a no-limits home poker tournament. This version of poker builds tremendous amounts of tension because it allows players to bet every chip in their possession at once. While this is often thought of as the outlaw of poker games, even outlaws have rules that they must follow. This guide will introduce you to the rules so that you can host your home tournament all-in style.

Pre-Flop Rules

There are two blinds, and players are forced to call, fold or raise. The catch is that the minimum bet for this round is twice the amount of the larger blind. For example, if the blinds are $300 and $400, you would be required to call at $400 or raise a minimum of $800. Any player not willing to call or bet at that amount is forced to fold, eliminating their chances of seeing the flop.

Post-Flop Rules

The flop is revealed and all players have the option of placing a unique kind of bet or checking. Players who like the look of their cards at this point can place a “bring-in bet” which will at least match the larger blind. Going back to the previous example, assume the blinds are $300 and $400. To bet at this point, you would have to go in for at least $400.

What is so unique about the bring-in bet? It follows its own rules, so you aren’t bound by the rules of standard raises. In general, the rule for no-limit holdem’ poker is that you have to double whatever bet is placed by players before you. Consider this example to make this clear:

The small blind is $200, and the big blind is $400. Player three wants to raise, so he must at least double the bet before him which is $400. This means he must bet a minimum of $800 if he decides to bet.

Let’s take the example further to see how it works when other players re-raise. Let’s say player three decides to raise $600. This makes the bet a total of $1,000. Player four decides to raise as well, but the bet placed by player three was $600. This means player four must raise at least $600, which would bring the total bet to $1,600 at minimum.

There are no limits on how many re-raises players can place. This is no-limit poker, remember? Your ability to stop raising is limited only by the number of chips sitting in front of you.

There is one other thing to remember at the no-limits poker table: your word is binding. Once you verbally state your intention to bet, you are obligated to do so. Don’t open your mouth if you can’t back it up for sure.

Introducing the String Bet

Once you declare that you want to raise in this type of poker, there are two ways you can go about it:

1. Verbally tell the other players how much you are betting and count out your chips to put the chips into the pot manually.

2. Verbally tell the other players how much you are betting and make a show of it, placing all of your chips into the pot at once.

A “string bet” occurs when you start slowly moving stacks of chips into the pot without verbally declaring how much you are betting. You may want to do this so that you can judge the reactions of your opponents as you add more chips, but this type of betting is not allowed in no-limits poker.

Now, what if you say something like this: “I call your bet, and I raise you a little more.” This is illegal because the first declaration you made was that you called the other players bet. Once you call, you cannot add to the bet. You must start out with your direct statement that you are raising the bet by a given amount.

This is a tricky line to cross, especially if you are not aware of the rules. It seems picky, but when money is on the line, all players must play by the rules. The rules happen to dictate that each player can take one action per turn, and calling first is an action. Something simple like “I’m going to raise” is enough said.

This article was published on Monday 03 August, 2009.
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