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How the Betting Works in Poker | Learn How to Bet in Online Poker

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Poker is a game of betting. It is not that different from Bridge, where players take turns to make ever higher bids with the object of agreeing on the right "price" for playing the hand.

A betting round goes on until all players have either:

  • matched the highest bet in the round, or
  • folded.

When It Is Your Turn to Bet in Poker

In a betting round, when it is your turn, there are generally four actions to choose from:

Fold

To fold means giving up the hand. You throw your cards in the muck and do not participate in the rest of the hand.

Check

Checking is when you pass the initiative to the next player in turn without betting. If someone bets after you, the betting turn will come back to you. As soon as a player makes a bet, the option of checking is no longer open.

Call

Calling means to put in enough chips to match the last bet within the current betting round.

Raise

To raise means making a bet that is bigger than the current highest bet. When you raise, all remaining players are faced with the choice of either calling your raise or folding. Or they may raise again, of course.

No-Limit or Fixed Limit

When you play in a no-limit game, the amount you can bet when it is your turn is limited by your chip stack. You may bet all your chips at any time. In fixed limit games, the amount you are allowed to raise is limited. Usually the limit used on the first betting rounds is doubled on later rounds within a hand.

In games with fixed limits, often a limited number of raises are allowed in one and the same betting round; usually three. This is called a cap. When a player puts in the third bet, the remaining players can only call or fold; raising is no longer an option.

The First Betting Round

When playing with blinds, as in Texas Hold'em or Omaha, the first betting round in each hand differs in two ways from the standard betting round described above.

  • The blinds are considered as forced bets being made by the players in the blind positions, so the option of checking is not open. You can only call, raise or fold.
  • If all players either fold or call the big blind, the player in the big blind position still has the right to act. He can choose to check or raise. This is an exception, since normally when a player is called, the betting round is ended.

Calling An All In

Usually, in order to stay in the hand you must match the last bet (call). However, if that bet exceeds the amount of chips you have in front of you, you cannot match it - but you still have the right to call and compete for the pot in a showdown.

When you call all in, you only compete for that part of the pot that is covered by your bet. The excess pot is contended for by the other players still in the hand. When playing online, this is handled by the poker software.

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