Poker is one game that has changed fortunes time and again over the centuries. It is that one name given to a variety of card games in which player’s hands are ranked by the cards deal to them, individually, shared or multiple players. Each game has it’s own rules, which we will discuss in the blogs to come. Though they all belong to the poker family, they vary by:
- Number of cards dealt
- Hand rankings used
- Number of hidden and shared cards available
- Number of rounds of betting offered and
- Betting procedures followed.
The games end after a ‘showdown’- which happens after the player with the best ranking hand shows all the cards or it ends when the player with the winning hand makes the last uncalled bet, thereby ending the game without the need to reach showdown.
Mostly the games use a standard 52-card deck that is shuffled and reshuffled before hand. The most common names you’ve heard of are probably: Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha Hi, Omaha Hi Lo, Razz, Stud Hi, Stud Hi Lo, 5-Card Stud, Irish Poker, Draw Poker & Mixed Games.
Most generally poker games feature a forced bet like Big and Small Blind in Hold ‘em and Omaha or Antes/ Bring-In in Stud. The forced bet initiates the starting pot in any variation of poker and as the game goes on, more betting increases the size of the pot.
The game generally moves clockwise in direction, as each player acts on the game in turn after the initial cards are dealt.
The Player can only choose to perform one action during his turn and the options he has are:
Check- The player can call check.By checking passes in the same clockwise direction, the payers denote that the round is complete. This only happens when there is no betting involved in the game.
Bet- The player can bet. But only if no other player has bet in the current round.
Fold- The player can fold, meaning which they forfeit and won’t be participating in the rounds then on.
Call- The player can call, as in the the player calls if the the other players have already placed a bet in the previous rounds, and also matching a higher bet than the one already placed.
Raise- The player raise as in matching the highest bet made, and making a subsequent bet made.
Hidden and visible cards are dealt to players after every betting round is completed, changing the poker hands that are destined to each player.The last bet or raise during the final round of betting, calls for the showdown where the remaining players must show their cards or ‘declare’ it and the player with the best hand wins. As easy as that. Players show their hands in the same clockwise order that is followed throughout the entire game. The winning pot is either taken individually or shared or divided according to the game’s rules.
Limits are placed on the bets that are allowed and refer to the amount at which the players may open or raise. There are four types- no limit, pot limit, fixed limit or spread limit.
- No Limit – When there is no limit betting structure, any amount can be bet on or raised up to in any betting round, whenever it is their turn to act, also including their full stack which is the total number of chips they possess at any given time,
- Pot Limit – When there is a pot limit betting structure, any amount can be bet or raised by each player up to and including the size of the total pot at that time.
- Fixed Limit – When there is a fixed limit betting structure,only a fixed amount can be chosen to call, bet or raise, by each player. The fixed amount is set in advance for any given betting round.
- Spread Limit –When there is a spread limit betting structure, any amount within a specified range can be bet on or raised by each player.