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If you do not like your hand you can fold , relinquishing your cards and taking no further part in the hand. Any money that you have already contributed to the pot is lost.
Once you have folded your hand it is placed in a pile of other discarded hands known as the muck by the dealer.
Having touched the muck, your hand is now dead. It cannot be retrieved even if you were to realise that your hand had been discarded by accident.
However, let's assume that you do want to continue in the hand after someone else has bet. In that case you may either call or raise.
A call involves matching the amount already bet in order to see the next card or to see the showdown, if the last card dealt was the river card.
However, if you particularly like your hand you may also raise, forcing the original bettor to match your raise if he wants to continue in the hand.
Of course, whenever you raise, the original bettor has the option to reraise , putting the onus back on you to match his bet to stay in the hand.
Most cardrooms have a limit on the number of bets and raises allowed. Usually only a bet and three raises or four raises are allowed on each round of betting.
However, when there are only two players left in the hand some cardrooms allow unlimited bets and raises. When there has not yet been any betting on this round, you have the option of either betting or checking.
In public cardrooms, placing a single chip in the pot of any value sufficient to call an outstanding bet or raise without a verbal action declaring otherwise always constitutes a call.
If necessary, any "change" from the chip will be returned to the player at the end of the betting round, or perhaps even sooner if this can conveniently be done.
If, when it is a player's turn to act, the player already has an oversized chip in the pot that has not yet been "changed" and that is of sufficient value to call an outstanding bet or raise, then the player may call by tapping the table as if checking.
In public cardrooms and casinos where verbal declarations are binding, the word "call" is such a declaration. Saying "I call" commits the player to the action of calling, and only calling.
Note that the verb "see" can often be used instead of "call": "Dianne saw Carol's bet", although the latter can also be used with the bettor as the object: "I'll see you" means 'I will call your bet'.
However, terms such as "overseeing" and "cold seeing" are not valid. To fold is to discard one's hand and forfeit interest in the current pot.
No further bets are required by the folding player, but the player cannot win. Folding may be indicated verbally or by discarding one's hand face down into the pile of other discards called the muck , or into the pot uncommon.
For this reason it is also called mucking. In stud poker played in the United States , it is customary to signal folding by turning all of one's cards face down.
Once a person indicates a fold or states I fold , that person cannot re-enter the hand. In casinos in the United Kingdom , a player folds by giving their hand as is to the "house" dealer, who spreads the cards face up for the other players to see before mucking them.
When participating in the hand, a player is expected to keep track of the betting action. Losing track of the amount needed to call, called the bet to the player , happens occasionally, but multiple occurrences of this slow the game down and so it is discouraged.
The dealer may be given the responsibility of tracking the current bet amount, from which each player has only to subtract their contribution, if any, thus far.
To aid players in tracking bets, and to ensure all players have bet the correct amount, players stack the amount they have bet in the current round in front of them.
When the betting round is over a common phrase is "the pot's good" , the players will push their stacks into the pot or the dealer will gather them into the pot.
Tossing chips directly into the pot known as splashing the pot , though popular in film and television depictions of the game, causes confusion over the amount of a raise and can be used to hide the true amount of a bet.
Likewise, string raises , or the act of raising by first placing chips to call and then adding chips to raise, causes confusion over the amount bet.
Both actions are generally prohibited at casinos and discouraged at least in other cash games. Most actions calls, raises or folds occurring out-of-turn —when players to the right of the player acting have not yet made decisions as to their own action—are considered improper, for several reasons.
First, since actions by a player give information to other players, acting out of turn gives the person in turn information that they normally would not have, to the detriment of players who have already acted.
In some games, even folding in turn when a player has the option to check because there is no bet facing the player is considered folding out of turn since it gives away information which, if the player checked, other players would not have.
For instance, say that with three players in a hand, Player A has a weak hand but decides to try a bluff with a large opening bet.
Player C then folds out of turn while Player B is making up their mind. Player B now knows that if they fold, A will take the pot, and also knows that they cannot be re-raised if they call.
This may encourage Player B, if they have a good "drawing hand" a hand currently worth nothing but with a good chance to improve substantially in subsequent rounds , to call the bet, to the disadvantage of Player A.
Second, calling or raising out of turn, in addition to the information it provides, assumes all players who would act before the out of turn player would not exceed the amount of the out-of-turn bet.
This may not be the case, and would result in the player having to bet twice to cover preceding raises, which would cause confusion.
A player is never required to expose their concealed cards when folding or if all others have folded; this is only required at the showdown.
Many casinos and public cardrooms using a house dealer require players to protect their hands. This is done either by holding the cards or, if they are on the table, by placing a chip or other object on top.
Unprotected hands in such situations are generally considered folded and are mucked by the dealer when action reaches the player.
This can spark heated controversy, and is rarely done in private games. The style of game generally determines whether players should hold face-down cards in their hands or leave them on the table.
Holding "hole" cards allows players to view them more quickly and thus speeds up gameplay, but spectators watching over a player's shoulder can communicate the strength of that hand to other players, even unintentionally.
Unwary players can hold their hand such that a "rubbernecker" in an adjacent seat can sneak a peek at the cards. Lastly, given the correct light and angles, players wearing glasses can inadvertently show their opponents their hole cards through the reflection in their glasses.
Thus for most poker variants involving a combination of faceup and facedown cards most variants of stud and community are dealt in this manner , the standard method is to keep hole cards face-down on the table except when it is that player's turn to act.
Making change out of the pot is allowed in most games; to avoid confusion, the player should announce their intentions first.
Then, if opening or cold calling, the player may exchange a large chip for its full equivalent value out of the pot before placing their bet, or if over-calling may place the chip announcing that they are calling or raising a lesser amount and remove the change from their own bet for the round.
Normally, if a player places one oversized chip in the pot without voicing his intention while facing a bet, the action is automatically deemed a call whether or not the chip is large enough to otherwise qualify as a raise.
In most casinos players are prohibited from handling chips once they are placed in the pot, although a player removing his own previous bet in the current round from the pot for the purpose of calling a raise or re-raising is usually tolerated.
Otherwise, the dealer is expected to make change when required. Making change should, in general, be done between hands whenever possible, when a player sees they are running low of an oft-used value.
The house dealer at most casinos maintains a chip bank and can usually make change for a large amount of chips.
In informal games, players can make change with each other or with unused chips in the set. Similarly, buying in for an additional amount must be done between hands or, at least, done after a player has folded during the current hand since players are not allowed to add to their stack during a hand.
As described below, some casinos alleviate this issue by allowing cash to be deemed temporarily "in play" while staff fetches chips.
Players who wish to always play with at least the buy-in limit will often carry additional chips in their pocket so that whenever they lose a pot they can quickly "top up" without inconveniencing the dealer or delaying the game.
While having players buy chips directly from the dealer is seen as a convenience by some players, and can help deter players from exceeding buy-in limits, many players dislike this system because it slows down the game, especially if the dealer is expected to count large numbers of small denominations of chips.
Also, many jurisdictions require all such purchases or, at least, all larger transactions to be confirmed primarily to ensure accuracy by a supervisor or other staff member, potentially causing further delay.
To speed up play and, by extension, increase the number of hands dealt and rake earned by the casino , many casinos require players to buy chips from a cashier - to assist players, some establishments employ chip runners to bring cash and chips to and from the tables.
Many casinos have a dedicated cashier station located in or very near the poker room, although in some usually, smaller venues the same cashier station that handles other transactions will also handle poker-related purchases.
In addition, if the casino uses the same chips for poker as for other games then it is often possible to bring chips from such games to the poker table.
Touching another player's chips without permission is a serious breach of protocol and can result in the player being barred from the casino.
Most tournaments and many cash games require that larger denomination chips be stacked in front i. This rule is employed is to discourage attempts to conceal stack size.
Some casinos discourage, prohibit or simply refrain from circulating larger chip denominations to prevent them from being used in lower-stakes cash games, although the drawback is that larger stacks won during play will become more difficult to handle and manage as a result.
Some informal games allow a bet to be made by placing the amount of cash on the table without converting it to chips, as this speeds up play.
However, table stakes rules strictly prohibit this from being done while a hand is in progress. Other drawbacks to using cash include the ease with which cash can be "ratholed" removed from play by simply pocketing it , which is normally disallowed, in addition to the security risk of leaving cash on the table.
As a result, many games and virtually all casinos require a formal "buy-in" when a player wishes to increase their stake, or at least require any cash placed on the table to be converted into chips as quickly as possible.
Players in home games typically have both cash and chips available; thus, if money for expenses other than bets is needed, such as food, drinks and fresh decks of cards, many players typically pay out of pocket.
Some players especially professionals loath removing any part of their stack from play for any reason, especially once their stacks exceed the initial buy-in limit.
In casinos and public cardrooms, however, the use of cash is occasionally restricted or discouraged, so players often establish a small cache of chips called the "kitty", used to pay for such things.
At a casino, dealers who exchange cash for chips are expected to immediately secure any cash by placing it into a locked box near his station.
This means that regardless of how chips are purchased, when cashing them in it is typically not possible to sell them back to the dealer since s he has no access to any cash.
Poker chips must therefore be taken to the cashier to be exchanged for cash. Dealers who handle buy-ins will often be willing and sometimes encourage departing players to "color up" their stacks by exchanging them for the highest-available denominations, both for the convenience of the player and to minimize the number of times casino staff must deliver fresh chips to the poker table - a time-consuming process.
On the other hand, casinos that expect players to buy chips from the cashier will usually furnish players with chip trays typically designed to handle chips each to ease the handling of large numbers of chips.
Chips given by players or otherwise retained by the dealer for tips, rake and other fees where applicable are usually placed in separate locked boxes by the dealer, although in some casinos the rake is kept in a separate row in the dealer's tray.
Public cardrooms have additional rules designed to speed up play, earn revenue for the casino such as the "rake" , improve security and discourage cheating.
All poker games require some forced bets to create an initial stake for the players to contest, as well as an initial cost of being dealt each hand for one or more players.
The requirements for forced bets and the betting limits of the game see below are collectively called the game's betting structure.
An ante is a forced bet in which all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins. Often this is either a single unit a one-value or the smallest value in play or some other small amount; a proportion such as a half or a quarter of the minimum bet is also common.
An ante paid by every player ensures that a player who folds every round will lose money though slowly , thus providing all players with an incentive, however small, to play the hand rather than toss it in when the opening bet reaches them.
Antes are the most common forced bet in draw poker and stud poker but are uncommon in games featuring blind bets see next section. However, some tournament formats of games featuring blinds impose an ante to discourage extremely tight play.
Antes encourage players to play more loosely by lowering the cost of staying in the hand calling relative to the current pot size, offering better pot odds.
With antes, more players stay in the hand, which increases pot size and makes for more interesting play. This is considered important to ensure good ratings for televised tournament finals.
Most televised high-stakes cash games also use both blinds and antes. Televised cash games usually have one of the players, normally the dealer, pay for everyone to accelerate play.
If there are six players for example, the dealer would toss six times the ante into the pot, paying for each person.
In live cash games where the acting dealer changes each turn, it is not uncommon for the players to agree that the dealer or some other position relative to the button provides the ante for each player.
This simplifies betting, but causes minor inequities if other players come and go or miss their turn to deal. During such times, the player can be given a special button indicating the need to pay an ante to the pot known as "posting"; see below upon their return.
Some cardrooms eliminate these inequities by always dealing all players into every hand whether they are present or not. In such cases casino staff or neighboring players under staff supervision will be expected to post antes and fold hands on behalf of absent players as necessary.
A blind bet or just blind is a forced bet placed into the pot by one or more players before the deal begins, in a way that simulates bets made during play.
The most common use of blinds as a betting structure calls for two blinds: the player after the dealer blinds about half of what would be a normal bet, and the next player blinds what would be a whole bet.
This two-blind structure, sometimes with antes, is the dominating structure of play for community card poker games such as Texas hold-em. Sometimes only one blind is used often informally as a "price of winning" the previous hand , and sometimes three are used this is sometimes seen in Omaha.
In the case of three blinds usually one quarter, one quarter, and half a normal bet amount , the first blind goes "on the button", that is, is paid by the dealer.
A blind is usually a "live bet"; the amount paid as the blind is considered when figuring the bet to that player the amount needed to call during the first round.
However, some situations, such as when a player was absent from the table during a hand in which they should have paid a blind, call for placing a "dead blind"; the blind does not count as a bet.
If there have been no raises when action first gets to the big blind that is, the bet amount facing them is just the amount of the big blind they posted , the big blind has the ability to raise or check.
This right to raise called the option occurs only once. As with any raise, if their raise is now called by every player, the first betting round closes as usual.
Similarly to a missed ante, a missed blind due to the player's temporary absence e. Upon the player's return, they must pay the applicable blind to the pot for the next hand they will participate in.
The need for this rule is eliminated in casinos that deal in absent players as described above. Also the rule is for temporary absences only; if a player leaves the table permanently, special rules govern the assigning of blinds and button see next subsection.
In some fixed-limit and spread-limit games, especially if three blinds are used, the big blind amount may be less than the normal betting minimum.
Players acting after a sub-minimum blind have the right to call the blind as it is, even though it is less than the amount they would be required to bet, or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet.
When one or more players pays the small or big blinds for a hand, then after that hand permanently leaves the game by "busting out" in a tournament or simply calling it a night at a public cardroom , an adjustment is required in the positioning of the blinds and the button.
There are three common rule sets to determine this:. In tournaments, the dead button and moving button rules are common replacement players are generally not a part of tournaments.
Online cash games generally use the simplified moving button as other methods are more difficult to codify and can be abused by players constantly entering and leaving.
Casino card rooms where players can come and go can use any of the three rulesets, though moving button is most common.
When a player immediately takes the place of a player who leaves, the player may have the option to either pay the blinds in the leaving player's stead, in which case play continues as if the player never left, or to "sit out" until the button has moved past him, and thus the chair is effectively empty for purposes of the blinds.
Many card rooms do not allow new players to sit out as it is highly advantageous for the new player, both to watch one or more hands without obligation to play, and to enter the game in a very "late" position on their first hand they see all other player's actions except the dealer's.
For these reasons, new players must often post a "live" big blind to enter regardless of their position at the table. The normal rules for positioning the blinds do not apply when there are only two players at the table.
The player on the button is always due the small blind, and the other player must pay the big blind. The player on the button is therefore the first to act before the flop, but last to act for all remaining betting rounds.
A special rule is also applied for placement of the button whenever the size of the table shrinks to two players.
If three or more players are involved in a hand, and at the conclusion of the hand one or more players have busted out such that only two players remain for the next hand, the position of the button may need to be adjusted to begin heads-up play.
The big blind always continues moving, and then the button is positioned accordingly. For example, in a three-handed game, Alice is the button, Dianne is the small blind, and Carol is the big blind.
If Alice busts out, the next hand Dianne will be the big blind, and the button will skip past Dianne and move to Carol. On the other hand, if Carol busts out, Alice will be the big blind, Dianne will get the button and will have to pay the small blind for the second hand in a row.
A kill blind is a special blind bet made by a player who triggers the kill in a kill game see below. It is often twice the amount of the big blind or minimum bet known as a full kill , but can be 1.
This blind is "live"; the player posting it normally acts last in the opening round after the other blinds, regardless of relative position at the table , and other players must call the amount of the kill blind to play.
As any player can trigger a kill, there is the possibility that the player must post a kill blind when they are already due to pay one of the other blinds.
Rules vary on how this is handled. A bring-in is a type of forced bet that occurs after the cards are initially dealt, but before any other action.
One player, usually chosen by the value of cards dealt face up on the initial deal, is forced to open the betting by some small amount, after which players act after them in normal rotation.
Because of this random first action, bring-ins are usually used in games with an ante instead of structured blind bets.
The bring-in is normally assigned on the first betting round of a stud poker game to the player whose upcards indicate the poorest hand. For example, in traditional high hand stud games and high-low split games, the player showing the lowest card pays the bring-in.
In low hand games, the player with the highest card showing pays the bring-in. The high card by suit order can be used to break ties, but more often the person closest to the dealer in order of rotation pays the bring-in.
In most fixed-limit and some spread-limit games, the bring-in amount is less than the normal betting minimum often half of this minimum.
The player forced to pay the bring-in may choose either to pay only what is required in which case it functions similarly to a small blind or to make a normal bet.
Players acting after a sub-minimum bring-in have the right to call the bring-in as it is, even though it is less than the amount they would be required to bet, or they may raise the amount needed to bring the current bet up to the normal minimum, called completing the bet.
In a game where the bring-in is equal to the fixed bet this is rare and not recommended , the game must either allow the bring-in player to optionally come in for a raise, or else the bring-in must be treated as live in the same way as a blind, so that the player is guaranteed their right to raise on the first betting round the "option" if all other players call.
Some cash games, especially with blinds, require a new player to post when joining a game already in progress. Posting in this context means putting an amount equal to the big blind or the minimum bet into the pot before the deal.
This amount is also called a "dead blind". The post is a "live" bet, meaning that the amount can be applied towards a call or raise when it is the player's turn to act.
If the player is not facing a raise when the action gets to them, they may also "check their option" as if they were in the big blind. A player who is away from their seat and misses one or more blinds is also required to post to reenter the game.
In this case, the amount to be posted is the amount of the big or small blind, or both, at the time the player missed them.
If both must be posted immediately upon return, the big blind amount is "live", but the small blind amount is "dead", meaning that it cannot be considered in determining a call or raise amount by that player.
Some house rules allow posting one blind per hand, largest first, meaning all posts of missed blinds are live. Posting is usually not required if the player who would otherwise post happens to be in the big blind.
This is because the advantage that would otherwise be gained by missing the blind, that of playing several hands before having to pay blinds, is not the case in this situation.
It is therefore common for a new player to lock up a seat and then wait several hands before joining a table, or for a returning player to sit out several hands until the big blind comes back around, so that they may enter in the big blind and avoid paying the post.
For this same reason, only one set of missed blinds can be accumulated by the player; old missed blinds are removed when the big blind returns to that player's seat because the player was never in any position to gain from missing the blinds.
In online poker it is common for the post to be equal in size to a big blind and to be live, just like the big blind.
This can create a tactical advantage for the player if they choose not to play during the time they would otherwise spend in the blind in full ring games.
A straddle bet is an optional and voluntary blind bet made by a player after the posting of the small and big blinds, but before cards are dealt.
Straddles are typically used only in cash games played with fixed blind structures. Some jurisdictions and casinos prohibit live straddles.
Straddles are normally not permitted in tournament formats and are rarely allowed online. The purpose of a straddle is to "buy" the privilege of last action, which on the first round with blinds is normally the player in the big blind.
A straddle or sleeper blind may count as a raise towards the maximum number of raises allowed, or it may count separately; in the latter case this raises the maximum total bet of the first round.
For example, straddling is permitted in Nevada and Atlantic City but illegal in other areas on account of differences in state and local laws. The player immediately to the left of the big blind "under the gun", UTG may place a live straddle blind bet.
The straddle must be the size of a normal raise over the big blind. A straddle is a live bet; but does not become a "bigger blind". The straddle acts as a minimum raise but with the difference being that the straddler still gets their option of acting when the action returns to them.
In a No-Limit game if any other player wants to make a raise with a straddle on board, the minimum raise will be the difference between the big blind and the straddle.
The minimum raise would be 10, for a total of 30, it doesn't need to double to Action begins with the player to the left of the straddle.
If action returns to the straddle without a raise, the straddle has the option to raise. This is part of what makes a straddle different from a sleeper because a sleeper does not have the option to raise if everyone folds or calls around to him.
Some casinos permit the player to the left of a live straddle to re-straddle by placing a blind bet raising the original straddle. Depending on house rules, each re-straddle is often required to be double the previous straddle, so as to limit the number of feasible re-straddles.
Straddling is considered poor long-term strategy by most experts, since the benefit of obtaining last action is more than offset by the cost of making a blind raise.
Because straddling has a tendency to enrich the average pot size without a corresponding increase in the blinds and antes if applicable , players who sit at tables that allow straddling can increase their profits considerably simply by choosing not to straddle themselves.
Straddling is voluntary at most cardrooms that allow it, however house rules can make straddling obligatory at times by using a special token called "the rock" at the table.
Whoever is in possession of the "rock" is obliged to place a live straddle for double the big blind when they are in the UTG position.
The winner of the ensuing pot takes possession of the "rock" and is obliged to make a live straddle when the UTG position comes around to him.
If the pot is split the "rock" goes to the winner closest to the left i. This is very similar in principle to the "kill blind" of a kill game, but does not necessarily occur in the same circumstances, and the betting amounts do not have to be affected beyond the first round as in a kill game.
A Mississippi straddle is similar to a live straddle, but instead of being made by the player "under the gun", it can be made by any player, depending on house rules one common variation is to allow this left of big blind or on the button.
House rules permitting Mississippi straddles are common in the southern United States. Like a live straddle, a Mississippi straddle must be at least the minimum raise.
Action begins with the player to the left of the straddle in a common variation, action starts left of the big blind, skips over the straddle who is last.
If action gets back to the straddle the straddle has the option of raising. The player to the left of a Mississippi straddle may re-straddle by placing a blind bet raising the original straddle.
A sleeper is a blind raise, made from a position other than the player "under the gun". A sleeper bet is not given the option to raise if other players call, and the player is not buying last action; thus the sleeper bet simply establishes a higher minimum to call for the table during the opening round and allows the player to ignore their turn as long as no one re-raises the sleeper bet.
Sleepers are often considered illegal out-of-turn play and are commonly disallowed, but they can speed up a game slightly as a player who posts a sleeper can focus their attention on other matters such as ordering a drink or buying a tray of chips.
It can also be an intimidation tactic as a sleeper raise makes it unfeasible to "limp in" a situation where a player with a mediocre starting hand but acting late only has to call the minimum to see more cards , thus forcing weaker but improvable starting hands out of the play.
Alice is in the small blind, Dianne is in the big blind, Carol is next to act, followed by Joane, with Ellen on the button.
Betting limits apply to the amount a player may open or raise, and come in four common forms: no limit , pot limit the two collectively called big bet poker , fixed limit , and spread limit.
All such games have a minimum bet as well as the stated maximums, and also commonly a betting unit , which is the smallest denomination in which bets can be made.
It is also common for some games to have a bring-in that is less than the minimum for other bets.
In this case, players may either call the bring-in, or raise to the full amount of a normal bet, called completing the bet. In a game played with a fixed-limit betting structure, a player chooses only whether to bet or not—the amount is fixed by rule in most situations.
To enable the possibility of bluffing and protection , the fixed amount generally doubles at some point in the game.