Minimum Raise Rules in No Limit Texas Hold’em
The rules about how much a player has to bet in order to make a raise, aka a “min raise” is a commonly misunderstood part of NLHE. In this article, we’re going to demystify the min raise so that you know exactly what they mean.
It all starts with the big blind. Essentially, this is our unit in poker. Whether you’re pre-flop, on the flop, or on a later street, you always have to at least start with the big blind (BB). So, if the BB is 100 chips, then you’ll never be able to just bet 50 chips.
Matching the First Raise
Things get a little more complicated when people start adding raises on top of it. Let’s continue with our example of a 100 chip BB and say that the pre-flop open raiser starts by raising 150 chips. Since this is more than or equal to the BB, this is a legal play.
However, if someone wanted to 3-bet afterwards, they would have to raise by at least 150 chips, not 100 chips. That’s because a min-raise has to at least match the first raise. Of course, we’re playing a no limit game, so we can bet as high as we want here, but we have to raise at least 150 chips. Let’s say they decide to raise another 200 chips for a total bet of 450 chips.
If someone then wanted to 4-bet, they’d have to raise by at least 150—not 200. That’s because they need to match the first raiser. In this case, a minimum raise would be 600 chips.
The All-In Exception
The one case where none of these rules apply is if you would go all-in. So, for instance, if you’re facing down a first raise of 200 chips, you want to raise, but you only have 300 chips, then that’s perfectly fine. If you had 400 or more chips, then you’d have to raise to 400.
However, since you’re going all-in, you can disregard this min-raise rule and bet 300 chips. Keep in mind that the players afterwards still need to follow the min-raise rules if they want to reraise, such as in order to isolate the short stack. In this case, that means they would have to raise by at least another 200 chips, not just 100 chips like the person raiser who went all-in.
We also should note that the open raiser cannot re-raise again after the short stack goes all-in and the other players call. So if everyone calls the 300 chips and it goes back around to the person who put in 200 chips, they can choose to either call or fold.