No Limit Holdem: Betting for Beginners

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Getting Started: Before betting, before you have cards

Before a hand of poker is ever played, someone must be the dealer.  The dealer can also be referred to as “the button”.  The dealer button determines how the cards are dealt, and who is first to act (fold, call, raise) each hand.

The player on the left of the dealer is required to post the small blind (typically half the amount of the big blind).  The player on the left of the small blind is the big blind and is required to post as well.  After the blinds have placed their bets then each player is dealt two cards face down.  And now the betting begins, also known as action.

First Round of Betting: Pre Flop

Before the flop Small blind and Big Blind will act (fold, call, raise) after the dealer.  The first player to act is to the left of the big blind, known as under the gun.  The actions a player may take are to fold to the bet, call the bet, or raise the bet.

Players starting with “under the gun”, first player to the left of the big blind must act (fold, call, raise) then continuing around the poker table in a clock wise direction until the big blind acts.

Second Round of Betting: The Flop

After the 1st round of betting and all players have either called the bet, or folded to the bet then the dealer (the player or professional casino dealer) places one card face down* and three cards (The Flop) face up**.  The player to the left of the button must act (check, bet, raise) first.  The dealer acts last.

* The face down card is a burn card, and is dealt face down to prevent cheating.

** All face up cards placed in the center of the table are community cards and all players use these cards to make the best five card hand in combination with the first two cards they were dealt.  The face down cards are known as “hole cards” or “pocket cards” and are private, and not be shared with other players.

Third Round of Betting: The Turn

After the 2nd round of betting and all players have either called the bet, or folded to the bet then the dealer places one card face down* and one card (The Turn) face up**.  The player to the left of the button must act (check, bet, raise) first. The dealer acts last.

Fourth and Final Round of Betting: The River

After the 3nd round of betting and all players have either called the bet, or folded to the bet then the dealer places one card face down* and one cards (The River) face up**.  The player to the left of the button must act (check, bet, raise) first. The dealer acts last.

No More Bets: The Showdown

Players remaining in the hand must reveal their face down cards (aka hole cards or pocket cards).  The player who was the last aggressor (the player who bet or raised last) must reveal their cards first.

The player with the best five card hand wins, using any combination of cards.

  • 2 hole cards + 3 community cards
  • 1 hole card + 4 community cards
  • 0 hole cards + 5 community cards

The suit of the cards have no bearing on who is the winner.  If players have identical hands, the pot will be split evenly between the winning players.  If there is one odd chip, that chip is awarded to the winning player left of the button.

If you are learning how to play poker, or just beginning to play; then we highly recommend you try a Free Poker Tournament before playing with money.

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