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.. the key to success in poker is in your hands.

Poker is a game based purely on money. If you’re going to play, it’s important that you know the terms, such as ‘blind’ and ‘ante’. If you’re a new poker player, these terms may be entirely unfamiliar to you, but this guide will get you playing in no time!

Before each hand, a set number of players contributes money to the pot, ensuring that each player has a reason to keep playing from the very first card, making the game interesting for everyone. This is done in two different ways, depending on the poker variety you are playing. An ‘ante’ is a pre-determined pot contribution that should be made by each player before each hand, usually a very small amount. An ante does not count as a bet, but is merely a way of getting some money into the pot to get the game started. The other initial bet type is the blind. A blind is a bet made without seeing a card to base the bet on, hence the term, ‘blind’. In most poker varieties, the two players to the immediate left of the dealer are required to pay in blinds. The player on the dealer’s left puts in the ‘small’ or ‘little’ blind, with the player two places to the dealer’s left putting in the ‘big blind’. The ‘big blind’ is usually fixed at the smallest bet possible in-game, whilst the ‘small’ or ‘little blind’ is usually around 33-50% of this amount.

One key difference between antes and blinds is that blinds count as a player’s initial bet, whilst antes do not, meaning that in the commencing round of betting, no player may check, ensuring that each player bets. An example scenario might be this: in a game played with ‘antes’, you’re the first t make a move. You have two options – check (pass) or bet. Assuming you bet, the player on your left may ‘call’ (match the bet exactly), ‘raise’ (add more) or ‘fold’ (give up). This betting order continues in a clockwise fashion. When the bet comes back to you, assuming the bet was raised, you’ll have the same options as all other players, to raise, call or fold. The round finishes when all players remaining in the game call and do not raise. A betting round might also be, in exceptional circumstances, ‘checked around’, meaning that nobody puts money in the pot.

Continue reading the second part of this article. Go to Poker Betting Basics: Rules and Terms of Betting in Poker, Part 2.

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