Betting is really what poker is all about. There wouldn’t be much excitement in the game if your only motivation to play is to have a better hand then the next guy. Betting means you are chancing the loss of something of value in order to gain something of value. How wisely you bet is just as important in winning poker as the cards you are dealt. The following is a brief explanation of basic poker betting structure and terminology:
• Betting: To make a wager of a specific amount governed by preset game rules.
• The Check: The player does not put any money into the pot and is allowed to stay in the game. However, the checker is required to call or may raise any bet made by the following bettor, unless that bettor checks as well. Any bet by any player during a round of play must be equaled or raised by all players that have previously checked.
• Call: To equal the amount of money placed in the pot by a player who has placed a bet.
• Fold: To fold means the player does not participate in the betting because he does not think he can develop a winning hand, and chooses to opt out of that round of play by placing his cards face down in front of him.
• Raise: Placing a bet into the pot that is of a higher amount than that of the previous bettor. All players wanting to participate in that round must “call” by placing an equal amount of money or chip equivalent into the pot, or “raise” by placing a higher amount then the previous bet into the pot. No player can check at this point in the game and must call, raise or fold.
• Fixed Limit: Bets or raises are limited to an amount predetermined prior to the start of the game.
• Spread Limit: Any amount wagered must be within specific previously specified limits that are more flexible than in a fixed limit game. For example the spread limits can be fixed at $5 – $20 and opening bets and raises can be made at any amounts within the spread limits.
• Pot Limit: Pot limit games allow raises equal to the amount in the pot. As an example, if $50 is in the pot, the next bettor can place a bet a no higher than $50, which in effect doubles the pot amount to $100. The next bettor can, if he wishes, place a bet equal to $100, and so on.
• No Limit: Players can bet or raise any amount without any restriction.
• Ante: An ante, also called a “blind,” is a specified amount each player is required to put into the pot to start a round of poker. The term blind is used because the players are placing money or chips into the pot prior to receiving any cards, and are thus in effect “betting blind.”