Betting Structures in Poker Tournaments - Poker Limits

Poker tournament betting structures can affect strategy radically. Learn to play different betting structures before you play poker.

Three Types of Poker Betting Structures

There are three types of betting structures that may be used in a poker tournament. The most common type is no-limit. No-limit is pretty much what it sounds like. Players may raise by any amount, as long as they have the money to cover their wager. The next type of betting structure for poker tournaments is pot-limit. Pot-limit allows a player to wager any amount that they wish to up to the value of what has already been wagered. Fixed-limit poker is the third type of betting structure, and it is quite rigid. All bets made must be exactly the amount specified by the limit structure, and only one bet and three raises may be made in each round.

No-Limit Poker Tournament Betting Structure

For many reasons, this is the most popular betting structure for tournaments, while it is less popular for ring games. The reason it is less popular in ring games is that no-limit poker requires a very large bankroll. In tournaments, the bankroll is determined by the tournament, so that all of the players begin with the same bankroll. The reason it is quite popular in tournaments is that it requires the most thinking and strategy since there are absolutely no guidelines for betting or raising. Another reason that no-limit is popular for tournaments is that tournaments are generally played to exclude other players. It is hard to bankrupt another player if the pots are fairly small. The fast speed at which a pot can grow in a no-limit game makes it very easy to eliminate other players.

The Pot-Limit Betting Structure in Poker

Pot-limit betting is pretty much what it sounds like. A player can make a bet up to and including the value of all the bets that have been placed before theirs. This means that the pot can quickly double, triple, even quadruple. By quickly multiplying the pot, it is easy to eliminate other players, but the pots do not grow as quickly as in a no-limit betting scenario. The climb is somewhat more controlled giving players a better chance at surviving for more rounds. This is one reason that pot-limit is a better betting structure for beginners. There is an acceptable range for raising, so they don't need to consider how much of their bankroll they can give up at a single bet.

Fixed-Limit Betting in Poker Tournaments

Fixed-limit betting is fairly uncommon in poker tournaments, because the pots grows slowly and it is difficult to eliminate players. On the other hand, fixed-limit games are easier for beginners because they only need to choose whether to bet, raise, call, or fold. They don't need to determine the amount of their bets and raises. Because it's easier to set a reasonable bankroll for a fixed-limit game, fixed-limit games are quite popular for ring games rather than tournaments. There are some tournaments that used fixed limit betting structures, but most of the bigger tournaments use either pot-limit or no-limit.