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04 July 2011, Happy Independence Day
Online Slots Guide - CasinoMan

Texas Hold'em Half Pot Rules

Half Pot-Limit involves blinds, just as does Limit, and in our Pot-Limit games you have a choice of $1/$2 blinds. However, from here, Limit and Half Pot-Limit change dramatically.

In Half Pot-Limit, any player is allowed (assuming he has enough chips in front of him at the start of the hand to do so) to raise any amount within a certain range. This range is defined by the size of the pot at the time it is the player's turn to act.

Texas Hold'emThe minimum allowable raise is either the size of the previous bet or the size of the previous raise, depending on whether the last action was a bet or a raise.

The maximum allowable raise is, as the name of the game implies, half the size of the pot. Sometimes players in brick and mortar casinos have difficulty calculating this because of the rule that allows a player first to call the previous bet and then to bet half the size of the pot, including that call. In on-line games, although you should still understand how the process works, our system software will calculate the proper raise range allowed and will not allow a player to make a raise too small or too large.

To see how the calculation of the raise limit would work, let's assume you are playing in a game where the blinds are $1-$2. The next player to act can fold, call the $2, or raise by placing any amount between $4 and $6.50 in the pot. If the player bets $4, he has raised the minimum, because the previous bet was $2, and he is doubling that. If the player bets $4.50, he is betting the maximum, because he is first calling the $2 blind bet, creating a total pot size of $5, and then raising half the size of the new pot. The $2 call plus the $2.50 raise yields the $4.50 bet.

At this first level, it appears that the option to raise half the size of the pot does not create a very different game from limit hold'em; after all, the spread in the size of the raises here was only $0.50. However, as the pot grows, the potential for a half-pot sized raise to be more than significantly double the previous bet increases dramatically, especially if you are participating in a multi-way pot, with several players calling or raising.

Let's assume, to continue the example, that the first player to act does indeed bet the maximum $4, and three players call, with the blinds folding. The pot now contains $15.

On the flop, the first player could bet half the size of the pot, $7.50, creating a pot of $22.50, and a raiser could call that bet, creating a pot of $30, and then raise half the pot, or another $15. If all three remaining players make the $45 calls that this raise entails, you can see how additional calls and raises can grow the pot fairly quickly; with a $180 pot, even a half pot-limit wager of $90 involves serious money. Nonetheless, if you compare this example that is used in our Pot-Limit Hold'em Rules, you can see that Half-Pot Limit does greatly reduce the potential for exponential pot growth size that one finds in either Pot-Limit or No-Limit.

Players may not buy additional chips in the middle of a hand, but can always (unless they have run into their daily, weekly, or monthly limit) decide to buy more chips in between hands.

If a player bets more chips than you have in front of you, you are not forced out of the hand. You are allowed to call for whatever number of chips you have. If no one else is in the pot, the bettor simply takes back his excess chips, and the hand is played to conclusion without any additional betting. If there are other players remaining in the pot, it is possible that a side pot may be created.

Texas Hold'emSide Pots
Side pots also happen frequently in limit poker, but because the bets are larger in Half Pot-Limit, the situation tends to occur a bit more frequently here. To see an example of how side pots are created, please view the explanation offered in our Pot-Limit Hold'em section, because the basic concepts involved in side pots are exactly the same in Half-Pot Limit as they are in Pot-Limit (or, for that matter, No-Limit or Limit): you cannot be forced out of a hand by a bet larger than the amount of chips you have in front of you, and you can only contend for the part of the pot you had enough chips to invest in.

Very experienced Half Pot-Limit players in brick and mortar card rooms learn how to calculate minimum and maximum bets, as well as side pots, fairly quickly, but fortunately the difficulty of these calculations is removed online, with our system software imposing minimum and maximum wagers appropriate to the situation.

A good way for limit players to start playing pot-limit poker
If you have reviewed our rules for No-Limit and Pot-Limit, you have seen that the size of the potential raises in those games can quickly place all of your chips at risk on one hand. While this creates the potential for huge wins, it also creates the potential for large losses. For this reason, we believe that players who have already gained some poker experience in limit format should probably consider trying Half Pot-Limit before they move on to the more complex forms of poker like Pot-Limit and No-Limit. Half-Pot Limit allows a limit player to "dip his toes into the water" of full Pot-Limit games without quite the same pressure or risk. Half Pot-Limit tournaments are also an excellent place to gain experience in Pot-Limit without risking huge sums.

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