Fixed limit games are the more basic of the two betting structures, and they always follow the same strict betting procedure. The player can only bet in specific increments, no matter what the situation is. For example, in a $2/$4 Texas Hold’em game, one can only bet and raise in the specified increments. During the first two rounds of betting one must bet or raise $2. During the final two betting rounds the limit doubles, the player must bet $4.
Whether one is playing online, or in a casino, there will be a little white dealer ‘button’ being passed clockwise around the table. Whichever player has this button in front of him, will be the last player to act on every betting round. Acting last is a huge advantage in most poker games. It is especially valuable in Texas Hold’em. When a player gets to see what other players have done before they are required to act, it lets them make more knowledgeable decisions. Since the button is passed around clockwise, each player receives the privilege to act last once each round.
At the beginning of each hand, the two players to the left of the button are required to put forced bets into the pot known as the small and big blind. The player to the left of the button puts in half of a small bet, whereas the player two to the left on the button matches the small bet at whatever particular limit is being played. Limit games almost always follow the exact same blind structure, regardless of what the betting limits are. For example, and a $20/$40 game, the small blind will be $10, and the big blind will be $20. In no limit, the blinds are decided upon ahead of time, and usually are related to the maximum or minimum buy-in allowed at that table. These blinds ensure that there will be action in every pot, since there is always money out there, waiting to be taken.
Once the blinds are placed and the cards are dealt, the player starting to the left of the big blind has the opportunity to call, raise or fold. The action then continues to the next player to the left, and so on. Once it gets all the way around to the small blind, the small blind can complete the bet or fold (remember, they only put in half of a small bet before the cards were dealt). Folding would forfeit his small blind. The big blind then has one last chance to raise before the flop is dealt. Once the flop is dealt, betting continues clockwise as before, but this time the small blind is the first to act. The turn and river are treated in the same way as the flop. Once the hand ends, the dealer button is moved to the left and the small and big blinds are placed before the next round is dealt (this will all be done automatically for you online of course).
All these rules may seem complicated now, but remember, most poker games follow the exact same procedure from hand to hand, so once the basics are down, it all becomes second nature.