Pot limit is not a format you hear about often if you mostly hang around Texas Holdem circles. But once you branch out into other games, you start to hear a lot more about pot limit. The first time most players encounter this betting structure is when they start making the move to Omaha cash games and tournaments. Pot limit is a bit different than any other format, but it’s not entirely alien. Give this page a quick read-through and you’ll have it down pat by the end.
The best pot limit poker sites are geared mostly towards Omaha. It’s rare to find a pot limit Texas Holdem game in the real world and near impossible to find it online. In terms of pure numbers, the following sites have the best selection of pot limit games:
What you want to see in any pot limit poker site is a combination of game selection, player traffic and safety. Safety is a given in any real money game, so I’ll just gloss by that one and let you know up front that I do not recommend unproven sites. Every site on this page has been going for a long time and it’s not even a question that each one will pay out your winnings when all is said and done.
Game selection and player traffic are special considerations for pot limit because it’s not the most popular format in the world. It’s easy to find a hundred no-limit Texas Holdem sites, but pot limit poker requires a little more work. I like to stick with big sites because they have enough active players to support smaller games such as pot limit.
How Pot Limit Poker Works
Pot limit poker occupies a sort of middle ground between fixed limit and no-limit poker. It tends to play closer to no-limit as far as strategy and pot sizes go, but it is definitely a unique format. In pot limit poker, bets and raises are limited to the size of the current pot plus any outstanding bets or raises.
For example, if the pot holds €5, the most you can bet is €5. After you place that bet, the pot is considered to hold €10 and one of your opponents could raise by up to €10 on top of that. The nice thing about pot limit is that people can’t just throw out wild all-in bets into tiny pots, but you can still pretty easily generate a big pot if someone else is willing to go to war.
Pot limit poker tends to slow things down, especially during the early stages of each hand. It is difficult to push people out of the pot or slam a big bet with top pair to hurry up and race the hand to a conclusion. If a couple people have been active during the hand, the pot can grow quickly on the turn/river and quickly turn into an all-in situation.
Pot limit is the preferred format for games in which starting hand values aren’t as polarized as they are in Texas Holdem. In a game like Texas Holdem, the value of starting hands is pretty straightforward. A pair of aces will win the majority of the time against any other random hand, while a pair of kings will do the same against any hand other than aces. Getting it all in before the flop with a monster in Texas Holdem makes sense.
Hand values in games like Omaha don’t provide as much certainty. Post flop strategy plays greater importance, and people find it annoying when others go all-in with random holdings. Doing so turns the hand into a coin flip and kills post flop strategy. So, people tend to prefer pot limit when playing Omaha and certain other games. The pot limit format prevents one maniac from going all in randomly and gives everyone a chance to play most post flop poker.
To be honest, I don’t see anything wrong with no-limit Omaha. If someone wants to act like a maniac, there are adjustments you can make to turn the advantage in your favor. It’s just that for the most part, most people prefer pot limit Omaha. In any case, pot limit is what you’ll find most often when playing Omaha online.
Pot limit Texas Holdem is rare on the internet, but you may occasionally find pot limit tournaments. These aren’t hosted often and when you do find them, it’s usually during special tournament series hosted from time to time by large poker sites.
What advantages does pot limit poker provide?
If you like to play more poker after the flop, pot limit is the game for you. People cannot just jam the pot from the get-go with any two cards. It takes at least two players willing to raise and re-raise one another before any pot can grow during the early betting rounds. Your risk is limited during the early, limited-information stages of each hand.
On the flip side, pot limit does give you a chance to win big pots. It’s not like fixed limit where you can only place bets of an exact size. You can still build big pots and cut off your opponents’ drawing odds. If you like the idea of winning big pots but prefer to get your money in after you’ve had a chance to see a few cards, pot limit is the way to go.
What are the drawbacks?
The biggest drawback is that you can’t protect your big hands as easily. If you are dealt a monster that plays best against 1 or 2 opponents, you would like to throw out a big raise early to make it expensive for all the speculative hands people like to play. The only way you can make it expensive is if someone else is willing to give you action. If everyone limps in, you’ll have a hard time narrowing the field.