You may have noticed that the table listings in our lobby include a "Limit" column. In that column, you'll find the following abbreviations: NL, PL, and Fixed. Anyone new to online poker might wonder what these are for. This section will help to explain the game limits.
For several of our games we offer 3 different game types: No Limit, Pot Limit, and Fixed Limit. The game type you choose will decide the amount you are able to bet each turn for each betting round. We'll start with Fixed Limit:
Fixed Limit Poker
In a Fixed Limit game, both the bet and raise amounts for each round are a preset amount, which is listed under the "stakes" column for that table. For example, in a $5/$10 Fixed Texas Hold'em game, both the bets and raises for the first two rounds of betting must be $5, no more, no less. The last 2 rounds have a bet/raise amount of $10.
In Fixed Limit games, each round of betting has a maximum number (three) of allowable raises, known as the cap. So, if a bet is made, that bet can only be raised three times, after which all players must call, or fold. However, if only two players remain in the hand the cap is increased, to a maximum of 5 raises. This rule is in effect for all the betting rounds, with the idea being to speed up play.
Fixed Limit games are popular because they're safe. While pots can still climb quickly, on average fixed limit pots stay pretty consistent in size, and stay the smallest for the three game types. In other words, it's a lot harder to lose all your chips right away. (Although if you're really determined, it can still be done!) This makes a Fixed Limit game more attractive to beginners, who are still learning the game play.
Pot & No Limit Games
Once you understand the rules for Limit games, the rules for No Limit & Pot Limit games will be easy to learn. The difference between these games is the amount a player may bet at any one time.
Pot Limit (PL)
For a Pot Limit game, you can't bet more than the current pot amount plus whatever it takes to call the previous bet. The minimum bet is the big blind, ($10 in our $5/$10 game) and if a bet is made, any raises must be equal or greater than the previous raise.
Sound complicated? Let's look at an example: let's say we're playing a $5/$10 PL game, and the pot's reached $100. A player (we'll call him John) bets the minimum $10. You've got a great hand, and you want to raise the maximum. The most you can raise is:
Original pot ($100) + Previous Bets ($10) + Call Amount ($10) = $120, making your total bet amount $130.
Now a player to your left (call her Lisa) wants to raise you the maximum amount. Just add one more step to the formula:
Original Pot ($100) + Previous Bets [John's bet ($10) + Your bet ($120)] + Call Amount ($130)= $360, making Lisa's total bet amount $490 (your bet + her raise.)
Now let's say you don't think your hand is good enough to bet the pot, but you still want to raise on John. Your raise must be at least equal to his bet, so your total bet must be at least $20. If you bet $20, and Lisa wants to raise you the minimum, her bet must be at least $40.
As you can probably imagine, the bets in a PL game climb pretty quickly, making for some exciting action. There is no cap to the number of raises per betting round, so you can keep raising until you run out of money.
No Limit (NL)
Just as the name implies, there are no maximum limits in No Limit poker. You can bet your whole stack at any time. The minimum bet is the high stake, or the big blind amount. ($10 in or $5/$10 game) Just like PL, your raise must be at least equal to the previous bets/raises. And just like PL, there are no caps to the number of raises per betting round, so a stack of chips can be lost pretty quick.
In both PL and NL, if somebody bets or raises you more than your current chip stack, you can call "All In." In this case, any further raises go into a side pot, which you aren't a part of. So, if you've got the best hand, you'll win the main pot that holds your "All-In" bet, and the side pot will go to the person with the next best hand (as long as they contributed to the side pot.)
For online poker PL and NL games a 'bet slider' is displayed when it is your turn to act. The slider's boundaries represent your minimum and maximum bet, so you're able to move the slider to bet anything in between. Or, you can type your raise amount in the bet field.