Poker Betting Basics

If there are no bets to you (It is checked to you)

Bet: You can put in one bet into the pot. Now all the players must call that bet by also putting in the same amount of money, or else they must fold.

Check: You can choose not to put in any money into the pot. If no one bets, then the game continues and everyone is still in the hand. If someone else bets, then you have a decision to make…

If there is a bet to you

Fold: You don’t put in any more money, but you are out of the hand and cannot win any money. Any money you have put into the pot up to this point is lost.

Call: You put in money equal to the amount bet so far. You stay in the hand. Play continues and the next card is dealt, unless someone else raises. (If there are no more cards, then there is a showdown)

Raise: You put money into the pot equal to the amount bet so far, plus one bet. Now, all the other players must call your raise or fold. They may also reraise you.


If there is more than one player left after all the cards have been dealt, and everyone has called on the last round of betting after that card is dealt, then those players showdowntheir hands. Whoever is holding the best poker hand wins all the money in the pot. If there is a tie, then all tying hands split the pot in equal amounts. The poker room will also take a rake from the pot before it is distributed to the winner or winners. The rake is the house’s share and is usually a few cents on the dollar.

Win by default

If everyone except one player folds, then that player gets all the money in the pot, minus the rake. He does not have to show his hand to the other players.

Betting tactics

Reraise: Someone else raises you, but you feel that you have a very strong hand, and you want to make your opponent pay to stay in the hand. Then you can reraise him and force him to put in another bet to stay in. Some poker rooms will let two players reraise each other indefinitely. Others will cap the number of total bets at 4, or some other number. Most online poker rooms cap you at 4 bets in each betting round. (The betting is only capped for limit poker; no-limit and pot-limit games do not have betting caps).

Check-raise: You hold a strong hand, and you are greedy. You want to take more than just one bet from your opponent. So you check, your opponent bets, and you raise him. Now he calls, and if your hand is as good as you think it is, you just won two bets from him. Check-raising is a powerful tool, but it can be dangerous, because your opponent might also check. Then you win no money from him. Or, he might have an even better hand then you, and he might reraise you.

Check-and-call: If you have a decent hand, but you think there is a good chance your opponent might have a better one, you may wish to avoid a raise. In this case, you can check-and-call.


If you can fold without putting in money, why doesn’t a player just fold all the time until he gets a great hand? This is prevented by forcing each player to pay a “tax” on the hands he plays. This tax comes in the form of blind bets also known as blinds. Each hand, one player at the table puts in a big blind (BB), and the player in front of him puts in a small blind (SB). In most internet games the small blind is half the size of the big blind. The big blind is the size of a small bet in a limit game. The blind bet is paid regardless of whether the player likes his cards or not. The other players must call (or raise) the blind bet or else they must fold. The player in the small blind must make up the difference between the BB and SB in order to stay in the hand. So if the big blind was *2 and the small blind was *1, the player in the small blind would have to pay *1 to stay in the hand.


The blinds rotate each hand. The person to the left of the dealer pays the small blind, and the person to the left of the small blind pays the big blind. In the preflop betting round, the player to the left of the big blind is the first to bet, and the big blind is the last to bet. In all rounds after that, the small blind is the first to bet, and the dealer is last to bet. Position is very important in poker, and here’s why: Information is power in poker, and each bet gives away information. If a person bets before you, he gives you information you need to make your bet. On the other hand, he has to make his bet without the information contained in your bet.