Texas Holdem Poker Lessons: Poker Betting Structures

To win money is your goal. But you cannot do that without risking some of your own first. This Texas Holdem Poker Lesson covers budget and betting.


In gambling terminology, the bankroll is one's total gambling budget. It is not the same as the money you bring to a single playing session or casino. In fact, you should never bring your entire bankroll to any one session or trip.

Your bankroll must be money you don't mind losing. Never take money that should go to paying bills and providing necessities for you and your family. Betting money that you need would not only be stupid; it would also ruin your game. It's the fear of losing money that causes many na�ve players to crumble in poker.

If you play many casino games, your bankroll has to provide for all of them. It is advisable that you play only one or two if you're serious about winning, and not just throwing away money.

Betting Structures

Your Holdem budget depends partly on how you are going to bet in it. Except for tournaments, Texas Holdem can be played under three betting structures listed below.

Limit - This is given as an upper and lower limit, like $.50/1. Betting is limited to four wagers per round. To explain how this betting structure works, here is an example:

Before and during the flop, wagers are kept at the lower limit, say $.50. This can be raised and re-raised by $.50 until it is $2. At the turn and the river, wagering moves up to the higher limit, say, $1. If betting is capped, the raising will have to stop at $4.

Pot Limit - Means a player can make a wager as big as the total money in the table.

No Limit - A player can wager all the chips they have.


Buy-in is the money you bring to a table so you can join. Of course, it's not the actual money that you lay on the table. If you're in a real casino, you first exchange your cash for casino chips. In online poker, you deposit money to your account and use the casino's software to play (using virtual chips).

Every table has a minimum buy-in. In Limit, this is usually ten times the "ante," the forced bet at the start of the game. But to play comfortably, one should always go in with much more than that. As a rule, bring no less than a hundred times the minimum bet. If it is a $1/2 table, the minimum bet is $1. So you will need at least $100; preferably more.

The buy-in for ANY gambling session must be a small percentage of your total bankroll, say 5%. You must never risk losing too much in any single session.


The importance of a healthy buy-in becomes apparent when play begins. The more money you bring in to the table, the more freedom you have to play as you want. But with a limited buy-in, it's hard to follow your game plan. A player who enters with few chips can be easily crippled by those with more money through frequent calling and raising.

Likewise, being "poor" makes you easier to read. With a small buy-in, you are bound to be cautious. If suddenly you turn aggressive, the others will guess that you have a monster hand and fold.

When starting your career as a poker player, stick to cheap tables. Build your bankroll there until you are ready for higher stakes.

This concludes our Texas Holdem Poker Lesson on betting and buy-in.