Rules for the World Poker Tour
The World Poker Tour plays no limit Texas Holdem, which is a
far different poker game than the Texas Holdem games you see
in most casino and home games, which limit the amount of bets
and raises to pre-determined amounts. In no limit, any player
can bet any amount on any turn. As such, “Going all in,”
(Betting a players entire bankroll on one bet) is a common occurrence,
which makes for a game of exciting and unpredictable aggression.
play of no limit Texas Holdem is identical to limit
games, which you can read about in our page on Texas
Holdem rules. Here, we’ll detail the distinguishing
factors of the no limit game you’ll see in
tournaments such as the World Poker Tour (WPT) and
the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
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As the game
play is the same, the betting is what differentiates the no
limit game. There are four primary differentiating factors,
To create a sense of urgency, the blinds in a no limit tournament
increase steadily at pre-determined time intervals. This means
that players who sit back and watch too frequently risk getting
their bankrolls slowly eaten by the increasing blinds.
Knowing that any opponent can go all-in on any turn definitely
amplifies the decision of whether to play a hand or not, especially
if one or more players has already actively moved money into
the pot. In a limit game, especially low limit games, it’s
not uncommon to see four or five players playing a hand. In
no limit, usually only two or three players will contend any
given pot, and there’s a lot of head to head play.
to go all in on any turn makes it a lot easier to run others
out of a given hand. On one side of the coin, players with the
best hand can make it extremely costly for others to play drawing
hands. On the other side, bluffs tend to carry substantially
more weight when elimination is put on the line.
Players in Each Hand
Partially because of the all-in factor, but also because of
the nature of a tournament, there tend to be fewer players contending
for each pot in a game like those played on the World Poker
Tour. By definition, in tournament play, there is a natural
attrition of players at the table. As each player runs out of
money, the number of players sitting at the table shrinks by
one. In contrast to a typical Texas Holdem game in a casino
where there are usually seven to nine players sitting at the
table at all times, the number of players sitting at the table
in a no limit tournament starts at eight and slowly approaches
the final two. As such, fewer players are involved in the average
hand. Additionally, as the number of players at the table decreases,
the relative strength of poker hands change.
Knowing how to play the cards is only half the battle in no
limit games like the World Poker Tour. The other half of the
battle is knowing how to use your bankroll, and how your strategy
should change given how your bankroll compares your opponents.