Every poker player fantasizes about sitting at the final table of the World Series of Poker, where each hand can be raised to tens of millions of dollars. You won't find stakes that high online, but there are plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst for high limit action, provided you have the bankroll to stay in the game!
So, what can you realistically expect the stakes to be at a high limit poker game online? A “high limit” game at online poker sites usually begins at $25/50. The largest number of high limit games online fall within this general level of wagering. The premiere poker sites will sometimes offer stakes from $100/200 to $500/1,000, but these games are few and far between due to a lack of eligible players.
The Player's Guide to High Limit Poker
This guide will cover the basics of high limit poker online, and the different rules and customs you might not know if you’re new to high stakes play. It will also help you find the sometimes rare tables and poker tournaments that are specifically for high rollers. We'll also discuss the perks that high limit players can expect, as well as ways to keep your information and bankroll safe online.
How High Stakes and High Limit Games Work
Theoretically, any “no limit” game can go as high as the participants are willing to wager. In reality, however, these games are populated by inexperienced players who won't wager very high, or by professionals and sharks with big bankrolls looking to take advantage of inexperienced players. A no-limit game meant for high rollers has blinds of $10/20 at a minimum.
A high stakes game with limits is determined by the minimum antes or blinds, or the mandatory opening bet on each hand. These compulsory wagers ensure that the player must pay some minimum cost for participating in each hand, and can't just fold whenever they don't get a strong opening set of cards.
As mentioned earlier, you can expect the starting bet in a high limit game to be $25 per hand. That's the minimum cost to participate in each hand even if you opt to fold immediately.
A variant of high limit play you might see is called “pot limit.” These games allow players to raise any amount, between the minimum bet and the current pot amount. Inexperienced players are advised to steer away from these games as the players are responsible for calculating the current bet limit (the size of the pot plus all previous bets in the current round) in their heads.
Who Has High Limit Poker Games Online?
If you're looking for high limit games, go directly to the most popular poker sites and apps. The more players who are regularly present, the more likely they are to have a regular demand for high limit games and enough people on hand to support a table.
The sites that see the most poker-playing traffic in the world are:
- The iPoker Network
- Ignition Poker
- World Series of Poker
Even high rollers shy away when the stakes get over $25/50, however. If you want regular high limit action, consider looking into events that focus on high rollers with big bankrolls. Most sites call these their “super high roller” tournaments. Keep an eye out for championships hosted by World Series of Poker (in which winners get actual WSOP bracelets in some cases) and the weekly PokerStars “Sunday Major” event with buy-ins ranging up to $500.
How is High Limit Poker Different?
There are a few different rule changes you'll see only at high limit tables.
The biggest difference is that there may not be a “rake” charged to each hand as is the custom with most lower-limit tables. Why no rake at these tables? Well, there might not be a pot. On any given hand, high limit players may be allowed to “chop the blinds” if everyone folds before the flop. Their initial wager gets returned, and a new hand is dealt. It doesn't happen in tournaments, but high limit games often allow this rule.
So if a hand in a high limit game can end without a pot, how does the house get their money? Usually, instead of establishing a rake for each hand, the house charges each high limit player an hourly rate to play at the table.
High limit games may also split pots, a practice usually called “running it twice.” It works by dealing two turn and river cards instead of one. The pot amount splits, and players can win either pot or both depending on how their cards pair with each turn and river set.
Playing with high limits also changes the fundamental poker strategy in several ways. Bets on the turn and river carry a lot of weight, for example. High limit games attract highly skilled players, and expert players are more willing to play past the flop with a weak hand.
Since there are relatively few high limit opportunities online, all of the real talent on a particular site tends to convene on a particular game. The occasional player who has a huge bankroll but isn't nearly on their level is the most profitable opportunity for professional players. As it was once said in a popular movie, “If you can't spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.”
Perks for High Limit Players
Players at high limit online poker tables get quite a few added perks. The rewards vary between the different poker rooms and casinos, but you can expect some (or all) of the following in return for your high stakes play:
- A dedicated customer service line and online chat where you get instant help with financial matters and technical issues
- Much faster withdrawals than regular players
- Offers for complimentary live events, sometimes even cruises and resort stays
- More favorable withdrawal limits
Is Playing at Online High Limit Poker Rooms Safe?
You may have heard something about the hacking of high limit poker players. The high-profile incident occurred in 2017 and involved several well-known professional players such as Vanessa Rousso and Cate Hall.
This hack didn't affect any of the poker sites or online casinos, however. Instead, con men targeting high-profile poker players managed to “social engineer” their cellular phone service providers into giving them control over their phone number. They then exploited password recovery by SMS to gain access to these players social media accounts.
Two-factor authentication protects any online account from this kind of attack. None of the attacks targeted the players' bank or poker site accounts.
Reputable poker sites and casinos that are licensed by a legitimate authority are safe to use. Unfortunately, not all governments regulate the casinos in their country equally well. But you are safe if the United Kingdom or one of the states in the U.S. that allow online gaming oversees your gaming venue.
Getting Started with High Limit Poker
If you have the bankroll for it, high limit poker is the most exciting game available. You'll need a lot of money to absorb at least $25/50 blinds, however. Also be sure to check the rules of any private game you're entering, as they can vary widely. If you have trouble finding tables, look for the various tournaments aimed at high rollers. Play safe and smart at a casino that is properly licensed and regulated, and one that will reward you appropriately for your efforts.