Poker Betting Rules: How to Bet in Poker

Here are some of the basic rules of betting in Texas Hold’em to help you get started when first learning the game.

Poker Betting Actions

There are a number of ways that you can proceed when the action is on you in a hand of Texas Hold’em. These decisions must be made during every round of a poker hand.

Check: When you check your cards with no bet or raise in front of you.

Bet: When you are the first to initiate action in a poker hand by placing chips into the pot.

Raise: When you double the amount of the bet in the pot, or in the case of no-limit poker any amount you want above that. Another raise from another player to act on top of that is called a reraise.

Call: When you simply match the bet or raise in front of you with no further action.

Fold: When you fold your cards back to the dealer when you do not want to call a bet or raise.

Poker Betting Rounds

Preflop: The initial round of action when you just hold the two cards that only you can see in your starting hand (hole cards). This is also when the small and big blinds and ante are already committed to the pot. The player to the left of the big blind is the first to act under the gun. Action then proceeds around the table moving one seat to the left at a time until the big blind is the last player to act in the round. 

Flop: The second round of betting action after the first three community cards are dealt face-up on the table. The small blind now acts first with action continuing around the table, one active player’s seat to the left at a time to the dealer on the button for the rest of the streets in the hand.

Turn: The third round of betting action after the fourth community card is dealt.

River: The fourth round of betting action after the fifth and final community card is dealt.

If at any time during the poker hand there are no opponents left to call a bet or raise from a player, then that player wins the pot without having to show their cards and the hand is over. Otherwise the hole cards of any remaining players are turned over to determine a winner after the betting action following the river.

Blinds and Antes

These are forced bets preflop to seed the pot and encourage the action in a poker hand. In a game with 100-200 blinds with a big blind ante of 200, the small blind will be in for 100 chips before they see their two hole cards, and the big blind will be in for 400 before they see their hole cards.

Main Pots and Side Pots

This occurs when one player at the table is all in for the remaining chips they have left before the conclusion of the hand. If a player gets all in on the flop, and two other players call to cover him but still have chips remaining, then all the chips in the pot on the flop are considered the main pot. Any subsequent chips that go into the pot on the turn and river are now the side pot, and only one of the two remaining players that are actively betting can win them. 

Limit vs. Pot-Limit vs. No-Limit Bets

In limit poker you can only make bets and raises at the size of the limits. For example, in a 200-400 limit poker game with blinds of 100-200 you are allowed to make a small bet of 200 during the first two rounds of action preflop and after the flop. Those limits double for the third and fourth betting rounds on the turn and river to a big bet of 400. 

The number of bets and raises per round in limit games is capped at four, so a maximum of 800 per player can go in both preflop and after the flop, while the maximum per player per round increases to 1,600 after both the turn and river. In pot-limit you can bet the size of the current pot whenever it’s your turn to act, and in no-limit you can bet as much as you want whenever it’s your turn to act up to the value of all the chips you hold in your stack.


How to Bet in Online Poker

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