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How to Calculate the Pot Bet in Poker | Betting Rules of Poker

11 April 2008, By: Pokerjunkie.com
In pot-limit poker, the amount you can bet when it's your turn is limited by the size of the pot.

Because it's a little bit more complicated than a standard Limit of No-Limit betting structure we've put together a specific article on How to Calculate the Pot Bet to help you understand how it's done.

The simple rule for making a pot-size bet is:

  • You can raise the amount that is in the pot after you have called the previous bet.

Here are a few examples to make things clearer.

How to Make a Pot Bet in Poker -- Examples

Pot Bet Example 1

Situation: There's $10 in the pot. You're first to act.

How much can you bet? You can bet $10.

Simple, right? Now we'll make it a little harder.

pot bet rules poker

Pot Bet Example 2

Situation: There's $10 in the pot and a player has bet $3.

How much can you bet? To calculate your maximum bet, first pretend that you call that last bet. The total pot then contains 10 + 3 + 3 = $16.

This is your maximum raise. With the $3 call your total maximum bet would then be $19.

Still with us? Now let's make it a little more complicated.

Pot Bet Example 3

Situation: There's $10 in the pot, one player has bet $3 and another player has raised to $10.

How much can you bet? First, pretend that you call the last bet of $10. The pot then contains 10 + 3 + 10 + 10 = $33.

Your pot raise is $33 and your total bet is $43.

Got it? Even if you're struggling a bit to get your mind around it, don't give up. There are a couple of smart tricks you can use to make it even easier.

If you want to play Pot-Limit poker (like, say, Pot-Limit Omaha) live, you should definitely learn them as you'll need to calculate your pot bets on the fly with a table of other players watching.

If you play your Pot-Limit Omaha online, though, you'll get some help with the betting functions.

How to Make a Pot Bet - Tips & Tricks

If you're playing Pot-Limit poker on online poker sites, the poker client will tell you exactly how much you're allowed to bet. In live poker, the common way to do this is to just say the word "pot" out loud before you bet.

This establishes that you intend to bet the maximum. Then you can take your time to figure out how much that is.

The Simple 3x Rule for Pot Bets in Poker

Here's another really helpful trick that you can use to calculate the correct size of a pot bet:

  • To get your maximum bet, multiply the last bet by three and add all other bets, including the original pot.

Does that sound insane to you? That's probably a sane reaction. But the truth is, it actually works!

pot bet calculator

Let's go through the same examples from above again, this time applying the 3x Rule.

Example 1

Situation: There's $10 in the pot. You're first to act.

How much can you bet? So, 3x the last bet is zero (no one has bet yet). Add the rest of the bets including the pot, which amounts to $10.

Example 2

Situation: There's $10 in the pot and a player has bet $3.

How much can you bet? 3x the last bet is 9 (3 x 3 = 9). Add $10 from the original pot and you get $19.

Example 3

Situation: There's $10 in the pot, one player has bet $3 and another player has raised to $10.

How much can you bet? 3x the last bet (3 x 10) is $30. Add $10 + $3 and you get $43.

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Luckily, this simple rule of thumb for pot bets works just as well in the first betting round when the blinds are on the table.

If the small blind is $1 and the big blind $2, the max bet is (3 x 2) + 1 = 7. With two limpers before you, the pot bet is (3 x 2) + 1 + 2 + 2 = 11.

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