Since the turn of the century, No Limit Texas Holdem has become THE pre-eminent variation of poker.
While Fixed Limit poker games establish a cap on the amount that players can wager during any given betting round, No Limit Holdem makes going “all-in” possible at any time – regardless of the size of a player’s chip stack.
Read on to find out more about No Limit Texas Holdem, how No Limit formats differ from their Fixed Limit and Pot Limit counterparts, plus learn a few beginner tips for playing No Limit poker.
Texas Holdem Rules
The rules of Texas Hold’em are the same whether you’re playing in a Fixed Limit, Pot Limit, or No Limit format.
The hand begins when the dealer (either live or virtual) gives two face-down cards to each player at the table. These cards are dealt one at a time – clockwise – beginning with the player in the Small Blind, then Big Blind, and ending with the player who has the Button.
Once the player on the Button has received the second face-down card, a betting round ensues. Then after the initial betting round, a “flop” is dealt. The Flop consists of three face-up community cards placed at the center of the table that can be incorporated into the hand of any player, and another betting round occurs after the Flop.
On the Turn, a fourth community card is dealt face-up, and then another betting round happens. And finally, the River card is dealt face-up next to the other four community cards – which results in one final betting round if two or more players remain in the hand.
Any player may Fold at any time during the hand when it is that player’s turn to act. Once a player folds a hand, that player relinquishes any chance of winning the pot or recuperating any money that the player contributed to the pot before folding.
No Limit Texas Holdem Rules
In No Limit Texas Holdem games, minimum bet and raise amount apply just like in the Fixed Limit and Pot Limit formats.
If you are playing a $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem game, then the Small Blind will have $1 committed before the initial face-down cards are dealt and the Big Blind will have $2 committed. These amounts are placed in front of the corresponding players, while any antes (this depends on the specific game) are moved to the center of the table before any cards are dealt.
Once the Small Blind and Big Blind players have “posted” their corresponding blinds, each player receives two face-down cards – with the Button player first to act preflop.
To remain in the hand, the player on the Button must, at the very least, “Call” the Big Blind amount of $2. If the Button player wishes to raise the action preflop, that raise must be for at least double the Big Blind amount – or four dollars.
However, the rules of No Limit Texas Holdem allow any player to commit more than the minimum raise amount to the pot – at any time – up to the full amount of that player’s chip stack.
No matter what betting round is currently taking place in a hand, any player who is still in the hand can “Raise” the action for any amount (from the minimum raise amount up to all of the player’s chips) when it is that player’s turn to act.
Although buy-in amounts per hand may be “capped” before a hand of No Limit Texas Hold’em is dealt, there is “no limit” on how much a player can commit once a hand has begun.
So theoretically, a player can commit $1,000,000 (or more) into a pot as long as that player has the chips to risk when the hand begins. And although most $1/$2 No Limit Texas Hold’em games are “capped” at a maximum buy-in determined by the hosting card room, No Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments can provide any “starting stack” amount to players who have entered.
A “Monster Stack” tournament, for example, can have starting blinds of T1.00/T2.00 and a real money buy-in as low as $0.01. Imagine having one million chips to start a $0.01 buy-in Multi-Table Tournament at T1/T2 blinds!
- Small Blind posts T1
- Big Blind posts T2
- Face-down Cards Dealt
- Under The Gun player goes all-in for T1000000!
In No Limit Holdem games, as long as it’s your turn to act, you can commit all of your chips and put your opponents to a decision as to whether to call your action or fold their hand.
What Is No Limit Texas Holdem?
No Limit Texas Holdem is the most popular poker game on the planet – and by far the most “TV friendly.”
The option to go “all-in” at any time makes for compelling viewing scenarios that simply aren’t available in Fixed Limit or even Pot Limit games.
Some online poker sites even spread “No Limit” formats for other poker variants like No Limit Omaha – but No Limit Texas Holdem is the most widely spread poker game in the world – and it’s not really close.
A player can instantly double-up, triple-up, quadruple-up and so on if enough opponents call the raise (or instantly lose all chips) in No Limit formats. There’s nothing quite like the “drama” of No Limit poker formats because of how quickly one’s fortunes can turn.
How to Play No Limit Texas Holdem
For live venues and online poker sites, you’ll need to have the funds to make a real money buy-in into a No Limit Texas Holdem game.
Some live card rooms may have a minimum buy-in level of $100 (or more) if you’re looking to play in the lowest stakes games. This will depend on the venue itself.
However, online poker players can make small real money deposits of $10-$25 and play micro-stakes poker games for pennies.
At larger online sites, micro-stakes poker games run 24 hours per day with tournament buy-ins as low as $0.01 and cash game “short stack” buy-ins for under $1.
So as long as you have taken care of the necessary on-site or virtual registration process ahead of time, you can usually find a No Limit Texas Holdem game to sit down at relatively quickly compared to other poker variants.
$1/$2 No-Limit Texas Holdem Tips
A personal disclaimer here: I have never personally beaten $1/$2 No-Limit Texas Holdem games (either live or online), so the tips provided below are very basic and not to be confused with more in-depth insight that one will receive when enrolling with one or more actual poker training sites.
- Know your personal bankroll needs/limits ahead of time
Even for a casual player who is planning on playing a $1/$2 ($200 max buy-in cap) No Limit Texas Holdem game over a weekend at a popular casino can potentially win or lose thousands of dollars.
Remember, the “No Limit” format by definition allows for players to risk their entire chip stacks at any given time. So even if you’re not “planning” on risking multiple buy-ins upon sitting down at a game, the possibility of being faced with a decision to “call” all your chips off in any given hand still exists – always.
If your chip stack goes below the minimum buy-in amount of a $1/$2 cash game, you’ll be required to either reload with more real money or leave the table. If you truly want to play $1/$2 poker games live or online and only have $200 total to lose, then Fixed Limit is a better option for individuals who don’t want to risk all their chips on a single hand.
- No Limit Texas Holdem Games Can be Volatile
The potential “swings” for No Limit Texas Holdem games are greater than Fixed Limit games.
If you sit down at a virtual $1/$2 Fixed Limit Texas Holdem game, you simply aren’t going to be able to win or lose an entire buy-in of $200 on one hand. The amount of re-raises in Fixed Limit Games are capped at two per postflop street (Bet/Raise/Re-Raise 1/Re-Raise 2).
Yet it is absolutely conceivable that a player can win or lose an entire stack within a single No Limit Texas Holdem hand.
- $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem Games Have Pro Players
Although you might be in a circumstance that allows you to casually throw away expectation while risking entire buy-ins while playing $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem, some of your opponents will have put MUCH more thought into having a long-term edge over their opponents.
Even in a $200 capped max buy-in online cash game at the $1/$2 levels, a multi-tabling pro could very easily have more than four tables open at a time, and as a result have four figures total at risk at any given time.
Everyone who plays poker prefers winning over losing, but it is not uncommon for multiple players at a $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem cash game table to have a knowledge-based background that is superior to that of a novice player.
- Watch $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem Games On Demand
If you’d like to prepare for what a $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem game will be like before you buy-into one, then it might be a good idea to watch live streaming personalities on sites like Twitch.
Thanks to today’s technology, it is very easy to access live streams as they are occurring (usually with only a few minutes real time delay), which will show you exactly what to expect in a $1/$2 NLHE game online.
- Consider Buying Poker Courses or Hiring a Poker Coach
If you’re seeking to become a better poker player and eventually have an edge over your competition in $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem games, hiring a poker coach or buying a poker course can help tremendously.
There are a lot of options available for new players to learn, so it might be wise to shop around a bit before deciding on one or more specific services. You’ll probably want to hire a coach or buy a course that deals specifically with $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem games and provides coaching from individuals who have experience beating those games for real money.
High Rake for Live $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem Games
If you happen to find a $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem game at a live card room, the chances are that you’ll be playing in a relatively high rake game. This means that a live card room is likely to extract more money out of each pot (or from each player based on purchased time) when compared to online poker sites.
So while a $1/$1/$2/$2 (yes, four preflop blinds to be posted) game at a live venue with a minimum buy-in of $50-$100 dollars may not be filled with actual “pros” or “superb” players, the commission that the poker room charges its players may make it difficult for you to keep your seat without constantly reloading.
At live casinos, hourly and daily revenue per square foot of gaming space is a powerful metric. Even if a 8-to-9 handed full ring $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem cash game table sees as many as 15 hands in a single hour, that’s FAR less than online.
In other words, don’t be surprised if a live $1/$2 No Limit Texas Holdem cash game has high rake as a percentage of total pot size compared to higher stakes live games or $1/$2 NLHE online tables.
No Limit Texas Holdem Can be Very Fun to Play
There are a number of reasons why so many poker players request No Limit Texas Holdem games, with one of those reasons being entertainment.
Entire chip stacks can move to and from players during a single hand, which makes for a unique, competitive, and “fun” real money environment that simply can’t be replicated in Fixed Limit or even Pot Limit games.
Have fun while playing No Limit Texas Holdem, and seek out ways to improve your poker knowledge as you go.