Before playing a poker hand, it’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the stakes. The stakes are simply the betting levels. For example, a $5/$10 table has minimum betting increments of $5 and $10. Each time you bet, you are laying down either $5 or $10.The manner in which betting actually happens is game-specific; you can read about the various betting rules below:
Poker Table Flow
For the new U.S. online poker player, table flow can be a bit tricky to grasp. To maintain fairness, the play around the poker table proceeds in a clockwise direction. This ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to be the dealer; this is important, because the last player to act has an advantage.
In Texas Holdem, there are no antes; instead, antes are replaced by the small blind and the big blind. The player to the immediate left of the dealer (the dealer is the player behind the yellow D button on the table) must pay the small blind; the player immediately to the left of the small blind pays the big blind. The cost of the big blind is equal to the low stake amount, and the small blind is half of that amount. For example, if the stakes are $1/2, the big blind pays $1 and the small blind pays $0.50. If a poker player wishes to play in the hand, they have to match, at least, the cost of the big blind. Simply put, blinds are a means of forcing action into the game.
Limit Poker Games
Limit games have fixed betting amounts. For example, a $3/6 limit poker game has a small blind of $1.50, a large blind of $3, and the first two rounds of betting will be in units of $3. In the final two betting rounds, the bets will be $6.
No Limit Poker games
In no-limit poker games, the maximum bet players can make is determined by the number of chips they have. The blinds are a fixed amount, and the minimum bet at any time is the amount of the big blind. A player may go “all-in” by putting all their chips into the pot, but that player will not be able to place further bets.
As play continues, other poker players may call the all-in player’s amount, or even raise. Either way, play will continue and the pot will increase until someone wins the hand. However, if the winner happens to be the player who went all-in, that player won’t take away the entire pot, but only an amount equal to their all-in amount multiplied by the number of players who called it.
Whatever is left in the pot beyond that amount goes into a “side pot” whose chips go to the player with the next-best hand to the winner. (For example, let’s say the all-in player puts $1,000 into the pot and five players call; play will continue. If the all-in player wins the hand, that player can take only $6,000 from the pot What’s left over — the side pot — goes to the player with the second-best hand.)
Pot Limit Poker
This type of Holdem is similar to No-limit, except that the maximum bet at any time is determined by the number of chips currently in the pot.