Wait a Minute, How Do You Play Pot-Limit Again?

by , Nov 13, 2006 | 1:04 pm

ALT HED: Who’s More Stupid, the Batfaces or CardPlayer?

You’d think at this point, in late 2006, that just about anyone reading this site would have the basics of poker figured out. Especially the dip-ass crowd I poker with … after all, we all play regularly, have competed in tournaments major and minor, have read dozens of books … and shit … among the group of us, we’ve experienced 5-figure wins and losses, and of the 12 Batfaces who played this past Thursday, six of us have written about poker in at least a semi-professional capacity.

Anyhow, we were kicking it old school last night … playing $.50/$1 pot-limit hold’em, in the backroom of a fantastic Chinese restaurant … known in pre-Pokerati days as the RC. Pot limit? Kinda funny, really, because that’s all we used to play. Even in the underground back in the day, it was hard to find a no-limit game … it was all PLH. So bringing it back last week, for a couple hours, I found myself wondering if we had played it wrong all these years. Here’s what I’m talking about … what constitutes “pot!”

For us, betting “pot” — the max allowed — entailed calling the bet, then raising what is at that point in the pot … with the small blind counting as a full bet. So if the blinds are $.50/$1, and I, under the gun, wanted to bet pot … that meant making it $4 to go — $1 to call, $3 raise. If the next player re-pots it, then that means 4+(4+4+1+1) … $14 to go.

But that doesn’t jibe with the way it works on the PlayStation 2 — WSOP Tournament of Champions.

On the PS2 WSOP game, if the blinds are, say, 10/20, and you raise pot UTG, 50 is the most you can put in. So essentially, you don’t call and then raise the pot … you simply bet the pot as it really is. So in a Batface home game, we’d be making it 80 … but in the Playstation World Series, pot in that position is just 50.

I’m inclined to think the Playstation has it right. After all, that game is LOADED with CardPlayer branding, and CP is, after all, “the poker authority.” The whole Shulman family is represented in this game, and surely they would never attach their names to any egregious poker mistakes, right? [Insert sarcasm drip pan here.]

Wrong, of course. Because CP-laden video game has one obvious mistake on every hand … when you make a “bet”, the game automatically refers to it as a “raise.” insignificant, I know … but if it’s gonna get that wrong, then surely it could be wrong about the max bet in PL tourneys. Interestingly enough, I actually pressed appropriate buttons to view Chris Ferguson’s explanation of game rules. And while he skillfully explains limit betting and no-limit betting, there is no comment on pot-limit. So for now, that’s my excuse for being stuck $100k in that stupid game.

Oh, and how did I do upon the BF return to PL? Pretty badly. But by the time we switched to no-limit, I got probably the best run of cards I’ll see for two years. AQ, AQ, AK … all in a row, followed a few minutes later by QQ, QQ, KK, 77, JJ … I think I flopped four sets within a few hours. And then, once I got some chips, just to piss off Robert who was complaining about “getting no cards,” I started calling pretty much every pre-flop bet saying, “huh, whaddya know? I’ve got two cards.” Made it extra fun to call a sizable pre-flop reraise with J-2o, then seeing a flop of J-J-4 to overbet the pot with a declaration of “All in!” only to get called by angry Shane’s soon-to-be-cracked aces.


But I shouldn’t boast. Because really, I played pretty crappy very sake-y. Considering the ridiculous cards I got, I shoulda been up about $9,000.

Buy-in(s): $250 (3)
Cash out: $547
Net: +$297

Now if I can just get all those PLH games we used to play declared invalid (if indeed we have been playing pot-limit incorrectly) … then I will be rich, Schlogger-wise, at least.

5 Comments to “Wait a Minute, How Do You Play Pot-Limit Again?”

  1. uncle ray

    Two separate sources include the amount it takes to call in the pot prior to the calculation of the pot limit, so it seems you had always done it correctly. Therefore you CANNOT shrink your losses. What you lost, you lost. Nice try, though. But gamblers never get credit for creativity if they lose.

    Maximum raise: The size of the pot. The size of the pot is defined as the total of the Pot in the middle plus all bets on the table plus the amount the active player must first call before raising.

    To see how the calculation of the raise limit would work, assume you’re playing a game with $1-$2 blinds. The next player can fold, call the $2, or raise by placing between $4 and $7 in the pot. If the player bets $4, he’s raised the minimum, because the previous bet was $2, and he’s doubling that.
    If the player bets $7, he’s betting the maximum, because he’s first calling the $2 blind bet, creating a total pot size of $5, then raising the size of the pot. The $2 call plus the $5 raise yields the $7 bet.

    Maximum eligible raise: The size of the pot. The size of the pot is defined as the total of the pot in the middle plus all bets on the table plus the amount the active player must first call before raising. As an example, the pot in the middle is $20 and the first player to act in the round bets $15 and the next player calls $15… the third player has a maximum eligible total bet of $80. The $80 total is his $15 call and $65 raise. The $65 max raise portion is equal to the pot of $20 + first player’s $15 + second player’s $15 + his own call of $15. Computing maximum raises can get tricky and we suggest you practice computing maximums before playing.

  2. Bob

    According to Robert’s Rules of Poker:

    “The rules of no-limit play also apply to pot-limit play, except that a bet may not exceed the pot size. The maximum amount a player can raise is the amount in the pot after the call is made. Therefore, if a pot is $100, and someone makes a $50 bet, the next player can call $50 and raise the pot $200, for a total wager of $250.”

  3. DealerZach

    I deal pot limit games once or twice a week. I was trained to make it 4 times the big blind, count the small blind as a full call. Our game is 1-2 PL with 5 to come in so our omaha game is actually 1-2 5 to come in and 20 to pot it under the gun becouse of the 5 to come in. if it was’nt 5 to come in then it would be 8 to pot under the gun.

  4. Tex Flaniken

    Some of the problem surrounding this issue comes from the disparity of semantics between old-timers such as myself and the young guns of today who are playing the game of hold ’em poker. In the “old days” of three or four years ago, when playing pot limit a player could call the previous bet and raise whatever amount he/she wanted to declare between the amount of what that previous bet might have been and the total amount that was in the pot subsequent to the called bet (and could say “I call and raise”). The young guns of today have a different no-limit action vocabulary.

    Much to my surprise, chagrin, and dismay, when (although I had been “experienced” in playing no-limit hold ’em action in the WSOP at Binion’s for several years, and where I had never been reprimanded nor dissuaded from doing so) when I began playing no-limit here locally in the Central Texas area, I could not use the term “I call and raise”. NOT ALLOWED! In the young-gun poker-action vocabulary of today (and I have to bow to the numbers, there are so many more young guns of today than old-timers such as myself playing hold ’em these days), there can be no such thing as using the term “I call and raise”. The only terminology allowed in declaring action are “I fold”, “I call”, “I bet”, “I raise”, and/or “I am all in”. The term “I call and raise” gets truncated (shut down) at “I call”.

    Now my question to you is “In your recent pot-limit action, did you have anyone in your game whereby when addressing the issue of calculating (for the purpose of raising, etc.) the amount of the pot who chould have used the term “I call and raise the pot””? HO– USE RULES, etc. It might have helped in determining the amount of chips he needed to ultimately shove into the pot.

    My basic point is that you were – once upon a time – playing the game right!

    But if no one understands that the term “I call and raise” is permissible language and is a permissible player action, then perhaps we (all of us that play the two games) have to either (1) recognize a key difference in the rules for pot-limit action and no-limit action. To whit, whereby the term “I call and raise” has in the past been and still should be permissible, useful, and required within the basic rules for pot-limit action and whereby the same term “I call and raise” has no place in the rules and/or play in the new-age world of no-limit hold ’em poker. Or, (2) both the term “I call and raise” and the corresponding, intended action is being dropped from the permissible set of terms that are available to any player for both types of hold ’em action. To whit, such being the case, the “PS2 WSOP” rules, that you to which you alluded (I have no personal experience, etc.) will be the new guide.

    There could be a third possibility – that being – to introduce the term “I call and raise” into the set of rules for the game of no-limit hold ’em action. But I suspect (because of the number of players involved and their mindset on the matter) that such a possibility is hopelessly futile.

    I have no personal experience with how the on-line poker sites handle the “betting” options for pot-limit action. Perhaps some opinions of on-line, pot-limit action players can be solicited.

  5. Andrew Hime

    Open raise in PL is 3.5xBB if SB is .5xBB.