The Basics of Blinds and Betting

An integral part of poker is the money and every player starting to learn this fun game will soon realize that he has to understand the basics of betting in order to play. There are a few phrases that are repeated in almost every version of poker and learning their meaning is fast and helpful in order to make the right choices. In the beginning a call or fold might not bring to mind anything but a telephone or a stack of laundry but after a few games calling, folding, and raising will give the player new associations that are exclusively connected to the game of poker.

Starting up a Pot

There are basically two ways of getting a pot started. One of them is called an ante and isn't really a bet. An ante is a pre-determined amount of money that each player has to contribute to the pot before the game begins. Since the ante isn't a bet it can be followed by checking. The other way of starting the pot is also predetermined and is called a blind. The blinds are only played by two players but both the blind and the ante are placed before any cards are dealt which can be understood by the naming the bet a blind.

Placing the Blinds

The blinds are the two forced bets placed before the cards are dealt. The blinds are usually placed by the two players sitting to the left of the dealer or the dealer button. The first player to the left of the dealer places the smaller amount of money which is called the small blind. This amount is usually half the size of the smallest possible bet sometimes it is even less. The big blind is placed by the player seated to the left of the player that placed the small bet. The big bet is the total amount of the smallest possible bet which is preset before the game begins. A blind is considered a bet so in the first round of betting following the blinds everyone around the table must bet and cannot check (passing the bet).

How to Bet

There are basically three things a player can do as it is his turn to bet. He can call which means to match the big blind or he can raise which is to put in more money to raise the bet. The third option is to fold which means to quit usually because of bad cards. To fold is also called to muck in some poker games. Everyone have the same options but the position of the player influences how he will choose to bet. A player should always consider what his bankroll is before entering games with high stakes. Betting is fun but only if the bankroll can survive it.

Different Limits

There are different structures of poker play and they are all referred to as different types of limits. In a Fixed Limit game there can only be one bet and three raise maximum in each round. A raise can only be the size of the previous bet or raise and during the first round the lower limit is used to set the betting while the following rounds depend on the higher limit. The Pot Limit game also comes with a one bet and three raises regulation for each round and the maximum raise possible is the size of the pot. In No Limit games there is no limit to how many raises there can be in each round of betting. However a player cannot raise more than what he has in chips.

Reading the Bets

By reading the other peoples bets a player can get an idea of where they are holding. There is always the risk that someone is bluffing and, despite a bad hand, puts more money into the game. To have a better chance of reading the pot odds a player should consider where he sits. The further away from the initial bets, the blinds, a player sits the easier it is to read the situation correctly. Bluffing is fun but it is recommended that a beginner stay away from bluffing as he could get into trouble when not reading the other players' moves as he should. By playing a lot and at the right level a player will learn to understand what the bets tell about the situation of the game and this will help him to bet accordingly.

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