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Holdem Poker

Betting and bluffing is a vital skill in Holdem. You can't be dealt good cards all night and will have to win some pots with nothing. Get it wrong and you will commit poker suicide. First a quick betting review.

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In tourney poker, at the start of a game each player puts the same amount of money into a 'pot' to buy chips. Everybody starts with the same number of chips. The winner is the person with all the chips at the end.
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To ensure there is always something to play for, the person left of the dealer puts in a small bet before seeing any cards (the small blind). The person left of the 'small blind' bets double this amount (the big blind).

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Round 1: Pre-flop betting

Two cards are dealt face down to each player. Betting starts with the person left of the 'big blind'. Players take it in turns to bet clockwise around the table. Each player can choose to raise, call or fold their hand.

Calling in poker
The big blind is a compulsory raise to start the betting. The player left of this 'large ante' must at least match the bet to stay in the game (call). Calling is betting enough chips to match a raise.
Raising bets
A raiser 'calls' by matching the big blind and bets more chips. Each player must then match the raise to call. NB. The total chips to call must equal the highest number of chips bet by any individual in a round.
The other players could of course choose to re-raise and add even more chips. More than one raise can take place before the decision comes round to you again. If you are not confident in your hand you can always 'fold'.
Folding your hand
When you choose not to call, you lose all the chips you have bet so far and take no further part in the hand. Even if you would have had the best hand at the end, it is too late, you 'folded' your cards. He who dares wins!
Ending a round of betting
If a player raises and everyone to their left calls or folds in, the round is over. This raiser cannot decide to bet again until the next round of betting. Each player staying in the game must have bet the same amount.
Round 2: Betting on the 'turn'
Three shared cards are turned face up. The player left of the dealer bets first. There are no ante bets at this stage as everyone has bet the same amount. A player can choose to check (no bet) at this stage.
Checking (knocking)
A check is a zero bet. If a person checks, the decision is passed to the player on the left. If everyone 'checks' the betting round is over. No bets were made. If a player does raise, the choices are 'call, re-raise or fold'.
Round 3: Fourth Street
A fourth shared card is dealt face up. Betting starts again with the player to the left of the dealer. The choices for this player are check or raise. If a player does raise, the choices are again 'call, re-raise or fold'.
Final Round : Betting on the river
The fifth and final shared card is dealt face up. This card is called the river card. Betting starts with the player to the left of the dealer. If a player does raise, the choices are again 'call, re-raise or fold'.
We have a winner!
Once the final hand of betting is complete, players still in the hand (those who have not folded) show their two cards, starting left of the dealer and moving clockwise. Player with the best five card hand wins all the chips.
Tied hands
If hands are drawn the chips are split between the winning players. If the best five card hand is the five 'shared' cards, it is a draw and the pot is split evenly (NB. anyone who folded still loses their chips).
Going ALL IN

In NO LIMIT poker there is no maximum raise. Players can bet everything and go 'all in'. This player must stand for the remainder of the hand in readiness to leave the table. If the player loses, their game is over.

Next hand...
The cards are shuffled by the next person to deal. A cut is offered to the player on the right. Blind bets are placed. The cards are dealt and another hand of poker starts. The four rounds of betting are repeated.
Raising the antes (compulsory 'blind' bets)
The size of the blind bets double at set times during the game e.g. every 40 minutes. Raising the antes in this way ensures the game will come to an end and keeps the betting going. Being 'anted away' is running out of chips.
Side pots

It is impossible for a player to reraise someone who is all in. The person has no chips to match the bet. Instead, any players who wish to remain in the hand match the 'all in' bet and start betting against each other for a 'side pot'. At the showdown, two pots are up for grabs. If the 'ALL IN' player wins, they take the original pot. The remaining players then showdown for the 'side pot'. The 'ALL IN' players cards do not count in this second showdown.


Do you have a hand that you just can't resist betting?

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