Before starting any game, it is important that each player knows all the rules of the game. In our text, we will focus on the rules of the best known variant of poker – Texas Hold'em.
Forced first bets
- Small blind - the ‘small forced bet’, determined at the beginning of the game. This bet is placed by the player who was dealt the cards first.
- Big blind -- the ‘big forced bet’, double the amount of a small blind. This bet is placed by the player who was dealt the cards second.
Actions during the game
- Fold - if you have a poor hand and do not want to call, you can stop playing by folding.
- Check - if you want to continue, no player raised or bet before you, but you don’t have a good enough hand to risk a raise.
- Bet - if you want to continue, no player raised before you, and you want to raise because you have a good hand.
- Call - if you want to continue playing, the players before you raised, and you agree to raise to the given level.
- Raise -- if you want to continue, the players before you raised, and you want to raise above that level because you have a good hand.
Taking action that corresponds to the strength of your hand, especially when raising, may sometimes be too transparent and is not necessarily a wise strategy. Basic poker strategies include:
- bluf - bet or raise even if you don’t have a good hand
- check - if you have a very strong hand, check so that you don’t deter other opponents.
More information about bluffing in poker is also available in the article titled Poker tactic – bluff..
Poker play explained
The aim of the game is to get the best winning combination of five cards from your own hand and the common pool of cards on the table. The player with the highest ranked combination wins. A round of poker can be divided into four parts: pre-flop, flop, turn and river.
Before the cards are dealt, the first two players after the player/croupier who deals the cards post their bring-in (forced bets) – small and big blind. The amount of forced bets depends on the table you play. Each player is dealt two cards, based on which he or she decides either to fold or continue by calling the big blind.
Three face-up cards showed by the croupier which represent a common pool of cards for all players in the game. Based on these cards, players decide either to continue with the next round of bets – quit the game (fold), refrain from betting (check), or raise (bet). If any of the players raises the wager, others have to either call (call), re-raise (raise) or fold (fold) if they decide not to continue.
After the first round, the croupier turns another card from the common card pool, followed by the next round of bets.
After the round ends, the croupier turns the fifth card from the common card pool, followed by the final round of bets.
The result is decided by the best combination of cards. Their ranking and description is provided in our next article - Poker Hand Ranking..