If you're new to poker, hearing "big blind" may bring to mind a big man who can't see. But now that you've come here, you need not worry. This page will help you get into the groove by learning about Poker betting basics.
Before a hand is even dealt, players put money in the pot. This way, each player has something at stake in the game before the first card is dealt. This is done through Blinds. Blinds are forced bets where the player to the left of the dealer posts small blind. The next player places big blind and the betting begins.
Each player receives ‘hole cards’ that belong to them alone.
Five community cards are dealt face-up in three rounds which collectively form the ‘board’. All players in the game have to use these five shared community cards with their own hole cards to each make their best possible five-card poker hand.
In Texas Hold'em, the player can use the hole cards and community cards in any combination to form the hand. In Omaha, players in the game can make the hand using only two of their four hole cards and exactly three from the five shared community cards.
During the betting rounds, players can take any of the following actions on their turn. -
Bet - If no other player bets in a round, you can make a bet. If someone has already made a bet, you can ‘call’ to match the bet.
Fold – Throwing away the cards and leaving the pot. If you think that your hand is too weak to compete against others, you can fold your cards (place your cards face down on the table) anytime during the betting rounds. By doing this, you give up your claim to the pot containing the chips you invested during the betting rounds.
Call - Matching the latest highest bet in a round.
Check - Passing the action to the next player clockwise without putting money in the pot. Remember that a player can check only if no other player makes a bet before his turn to act. If all players check, the round ends without any more betting.
Raise - Making a bigger bet than the highest bet made by another player in a betting round. By raising the bet, you force other players to put in more money into the pot. ‘Check-raise’ means passing the action to the next player and when the other player bets, raising the bet in the same betting round.
All-in- The player can put his entire chip stack into the pot. If the player’s chip stake is insufficient to call a bet, he can go all-in by putting the remainder of his stack into the pot. He cannot take any other action in the hand after ‘all-in’. Also, he cannot win any amount more than the amount of his bet.
There are three types of betting limits in poker:
1. NO LIMIT
There is no maximum limit to bet/raise in this format. You can bet your entire chip stack in any betting round on your turn. The minimum bet size in this format is the big blind. The minimum raise is equal to the previous bet or raise. For ex.- if the previous bet was 100 and the big blind was 50, then call is at 100 and raise is at 100 + 50 = 150. For the next player, the call is at 150 and the raise (min raise of 50) will be 200.
2. POT LIMIT
In this format, players cannot raise more than the total pot size. For ex. - on a table of 100/200, if the pot size is 300 after the flop, the player can bet minimum up to the big blind or maximum up to the pot size. If a player bets 200, next player can raise minimum 200 (previous bet) or maximum by calculating pot size (starting pot+ last action+ next call) (300+200+200) = 700.
3. FIXED LIMIT/Limit
Players can bet, call, or raise only up to a specific limit. The size of the bet is pre-defined and the maximum number of raises allowed in a betting round is also limited, which is typically 4 times. There are two bet sizes - small bet and big bet. If 4 players raise the bet before your turn, the only option for you is to call or fold, that means no more raises. In Pre-flop and Flop rounds, the raise amounts are equal to small bets. While in Turn and River, the raise is equal to the big bet.
In the Preflop / Flop rounds -
First player raises to 20. The next player calls 20. The third player raises to 20+20 = 40. Then next player raises to 40+20 = 60.
In the Turn / River rounds :
First player raises to 40. The next player calls 40. The third player raises to 40+40 = 80. Then next player raises to 80+40 = 120. Note the difference with No-Limit betting.
Regardless of the betting structure, a player cannot make a bet more than equal to the chips available in front of him at the table (Chip Stack) in a hand in any situation.
All-in and Side Pot Rules
Normally in a betting round all participating players should have bet equal amounts. However in-case one or more active players do not have enough money to call a bet, they have the option of going ‘All-in’. In such a scenario, the pot is split. The main pot contains the amount put in by the player who has just gone All-in plus an equal amount from all the active players. The side pot contains the remaining amount.
Note that the player who went All-in does not have any stake in the side pot. The winner of the side pot is computed based on the other players (not including the All-in player). The All-in player can only win the amount kept in the main pot.
The main pot also includes the amount from players who fold during the hand.
In case there are multiple All-Ins, there would be multiple side pots.
A player can go All-in in two scenarios –
(A) The player does not have enough money to call a bet and hence goes All-in.
(B) The player has enough money to call, but still goes All-in (on a raise).
In scenario (A), the next player will have to call or raise based on the bet made by the player previous to the all-in player (i.e. the last player who made a full bet).
In scenario (B), the next player will have to call or raise based on the All-in bet made.