Tournaments Game Guide

Betting Structures in Poker Tournaments

Poker Tournaments Understanding Bets in Poker Tournaments

Different types of tournaments will have different betting structures and it is important to understand these before you begin to play poker.

Common Betting Structures in Poker Tournaments

There are four common betting structures in poker tournaments and you can choose a tournament based on the structure that suits you.

Fixed Limit

Fixed limit betting structures are common in casinos. As the name suggests, the amount that a player can bet or raise for each round is fixed. For example, if you are playing a $5-$10 game, you have to bet or raise $5 for the pre-flop and flop (the first two) rounds and bet or raise $10 for the turn and the river (the last two) rounds.

There are two types of semi-limited bets: spread limit and pot limit.

Spread Limit

Spread limit betting structures are most common in home games. A player can bet any amount within a specified range. You also have to raise as much, or more than the player before you raised.

Pot Limit

In pot limit games, your bet or raise is limited by the amount that is currently in the pot at the time of your bet.

No Limit

As the name suggests, there is no limit to the amount you can bet or raise when playing a no limit poker game.

What is a Blind in the Game of Poker?

The blind is a set amount that a player is forced to put in, in order to get the betting rolling. It is called a blind because it is placed before the player has seen any cards- in other words, he is betting blind. Generally the player to the left of the dealer places what is known as a small blind or little blind, while the player to the left of that places what is known as the big blind. These amounts are set out before the game begins. In poker tournaments, blinds tend to go up gradually. As the blind increases, more players tend to be eliminated and therefore this helps to ensure that the poker tournament finishes in a timely manner.

Betting Options and Actions in Poker

The opening round is the first voluntary bet in a betting round. This may be the blind where a blind is required.

When a player matches a bet or matches a raise, this is known as a call. If all or no opponents call a player's bet or raise, then the betting round ends.

If a player is due to make the first bet, but does not wish to open, even though he wants to keep his cards and maintain the right to call or raise later in the round, he can check. In other words, he is calling a bet of zero.

Increasing the size of the bet is known as a raise. This then forces all the following players to call the larger size bet.

Players can also choose to fold their hand. This means that they discard their hand and are eliminated from the game. They are no longer required to place bets. It is also sometimes known as mucking if you discard your cards face down into the pile of other discarded cards, which is known as the muck.

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