No-Limit Poker Definition

No Limit Holdem - No Limit Betting

by Jesse Knight


No Limit Holdem
No-Limit - A betting structure which allows you to bet any amount, up to everything that you have in front of you, so long as the minimum wager requirement is fulfilled.

Poker games typically have a system of rules which govern the betting. This is referred to as the game’s “structure” or “betting structure.” Games with specific requirements about how much each player must bet, like limit games, are referred to as being “structured” games. Games without many rules relating to bet amounts, like no-limit games, are called “unstructured.” Games that have both some rule and some freedom regarding bet amounts, like pot limit and spread limit games, are sometimes called semi-structured. In this context, the word structure refers to the amount of restrictions placed on the betting.

Having the best hand is obviously important to your bottom line. What may not be so obvious is the importance of how and when the money goes into the pot. A good place to start from is with an assumption that each time that you act also represents an opportunity to invest or to refrain from investing. If you think that you are in a situation that is profitable over the long run, you will want to invest, which you can do by putting chips into the pot. If you think that your position is disadvantageous, you will not want to invest, and therefore will not give action. Here is the rub. There is a direct link between how much it costs to call, relative to the size of the pot, and whether or not a call is worth it at that point. If the pot is big enough, compared to the cost of the call, you have pot odds and a worthy investment. If the cost of the call is too large compared to the size of the pot, you do not have pot odds or a good investment. Since players have the freedom to adjust the size of their bets in both structured and semi-structured games, they have the ability to actually change whether or not their opponents have pot odds by simply adjusting their bet amount. Nowhere does a player have more freedom to do this than in the unstructured format of a no limit game. Giving a player the freedom to bet different amounts adds layers of strategy and complexity to the game.

Many different styles of poker can be played with a no-limit structure, but far and away the most popular no-limit game is No-Limit Hold’em. Because of its high stakes, fast paced action, and layered complexity, No Limit Holdem has been called “The Cadillac of poker games.” It is the most frequently chosen game for tournament play, and it is the game played during the main event at the World Series of Poker, which crowns a new world champion every year. In addition to being far and away the most popular choice for tournament play, No-Limit Hold’em is also a commonly played ring game in most poker rooms.

Texas Hold’em is easy to learn, has basic, simple rules, and has a fairly strong luck component, making it attractive to new or inexperienced players. Because the luck component is naturally so strong in a Limit Hold’em game, good players are forced to extract profit where they can, through superior hand selection, reads, and betting strategies. The ability to adjust bet size is what separates structured betting from semi structured and unstructured betting. It is also the most effective tool for extracting maximum profit from a less skilled opponent. This is why so many excellent players prefer to play No-Limit Hold’em over Limit Hold’em.

One of the best teachings about No-Limit poker can be found in Doyle Brunson's book, “Super/System”.

Usage: No Limit Omaha High/Low, No Limit Tourney, No Limit Games

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