In part 3 of the NoPayPOKER.com free online poker course we are continuing with the rules lesson from How to play poker for beginners rules part 1
Once the blinds have been posted, Small Blind (SB) and Big Blind (BB), it’s time for some cards.
Moving clockwise around the table from the Dealer (DB), each player receives two cards dealt face down….one card at a time. These are also called ‘Pocket Cards’ or ‘hole cards’.
Now the betting begins; and, after all, isn’t that why you’ve decided to take up the game of poker? Isn’t that why you’ve entered the multi-table freeroll tournament? Isn’t that why you’ve become a member of NoPayPoker? Of course it is….the game is all about winning money; nothing more, nothing less (with the possible exception of social interaction in the chat lobby or the table’s chat box).
At this point in the hand (holding 2 pocket cards), each player is betting on what hand they feel their pocket cards could lead to.
- The betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the Big Blind (BB).
- This player is often referred to as the ‘Under The Gun’ (UTG) position at the table.
- He’s given the UTG label primarily because the Small Blind and Big Blind players were forced to put up bets prior to receiving any cards.
- Thus, both the SB and BB are already participating in the hand; albeit not voluntarily (at least not yet; they’ll have to wait until the betting comes around to them).
And, for this round of betting, each player has three choices:
- To fold (usually when they think that their pocket cards are garbage (or rags))
- To raise (usually when they think that they hold really good pocket cards)
- Oor to call (match) the Big Blind (usually when they think that their pocket cards hold some potential).
All of this is true, since, the player who posted the Big Blind has effectively opened the betting, and each player (moving left to right around the table) has to at least call this Big Blind bet to stay in the hand; or, call whatever raise another player may have made….again, to stay in the hand.
Therefore, the 4th option, checking, often available in subsequent betting rounds, isn’t an option at this stage.
By the time the betting reaches the person who posted the Small Blind (SB), this player can fold (thereby losing the chips he was forced to put into the pot prior to the cards being dealt), or, this player can call the Big Blind (by simply putting up the difference between the Small Blind and the Big Blind), or, this player can call whatever raise has been made, or this player can initiate a raise; or even a re-raise.
Then, the Big Blind (BB) player gets to act….and, if no raise has taken place, he has the option of either checking (opting to do nothing; thus telling the Dealer to proceed), or, he has the option of calling a raise, or initiating a raise; or even a re-raise.
Of significance, since the game is a No Limit Texas Hold Em tournament, the amount of any one raise is only limited by the number of chips the player who is doing the raising is in possession of….if his stack of chips is 1,500, he’s allowed to raise by any amount up to and including the 1,500 (all of his chips).
Should he opt to make a 1,500 chip bet, it would be called an ‘All-In’ bet. It’s always an ‘all-in’ bet any time a player raises by the total amount of chips he currently holds.
And, of paramount importance, especially since you’re at the introductory level of the game, make certain that YOUR use of an ‘All-In’ bet is dramatically limited.
You’ll not be ‘let loose’ by my advice for the sole purpose of becoming another NoPayPOKER ‘chip-flinger‘ (someone who tosses chips around without regard to the quality of their cards).
Once the opening round of betting is completed it’s time to see ‘The Flop’ (things will now start to get really interesting).
- ‘The Flop’ is the set of three cards that are dealt face up in the middle of the table by the Dealer.
- Each player can use these ‘community cards’ to build their hand.
- Again, as here-to-fore mentioned, the middle of the table where these cards are dealt is commonly known as ‘The Board’.
With ‘The Flop’ exposed, it’s time for another round of betting. And, the betting that will occur is based on the 5 cards currently available to each player (2 ‘Pocket’ cards and 3 ‘Board’ cards).
- The betting starts with the player to the immediate left of the Dealer Button, regardless of whether the Dealer is still active in the hand or not.
- The player to the left of the Dealer Button will keep the initial betting action for the rest of the hand (and, later, you’ll come to learn that this is the worst position to be in at the table….see ‘Building a Bankroll‘).
- Apart from that, the betting process is the same as it was in ‘pre-flop’ betting.
However, keep in mind, all of the players who were dealt ‘Pocket’ cards may not be currently playing the hand….they could have folded during the opening round of betting.
So, whichever remaining player is ‘to the immediate left’ of the Dealer Button (DB), it is that person who will be the first player to act; throughout the hand (providing he doesn’t fold).
He can check or bet.
- If he checks, he’s simply passing the options of checking or betting to the player who sits to his left.
- If he doesn’t check, and decides to bet, then those that follow will have 3 choices:
- They can fold
- They can call
- Or they can raise….but, since a bet was made, those that follow do not have the option of ‘checking’.
Once the round of betting has finished, it’s time for another card to be dealt face up on ‘The Board’.
This fourth card is called ‘The Turn’ card (or 4th Street), and, again, the card can be used by all of the remaining players (those players who have not folded)….it’s a ‘community card’.
- Thus, each remaining player now has access to 6 cards (4 ‘Board’ cards, and 2 ‘Pocket’ cards).
- Four cards on ‘The Board’, one additional card to come.
It’s now time for the fifth and final ‘community card’ to be dealt: ‘The River’ (or 5th Street).
- And, given that all the cards have now been dealt, each player remaining in the hand can see what their best five card hand is.
Therefore, it’s now time for the final round of betting.
- And, when the betting ends, the hand is over.
- It’s time to see who wins.
- Each player who has remained in the hand shows their cards, starting with the last person to initiate a bet (at free poker NoPayPoker, the software will handle the process of showing the cards).
- The winner is decided via use of the universal poker hand rankings (you’ll find that in subsequent chapter; entitled ‘What Beats What’).
If a player wins a pot because every other player has folded, he can decide whether to show his cards or not.
Most people don’t, and it’s almost always advised by me to never show your cards….if you’re not required to do so; keep ‘em guessing!
Yet, when you reach an ‘advanced level’ of play, you’ll get a whole different perspective from me….you see, there are times when ‘deceitful strategies’ are going to be added to your acquired set of playing skills.
And, a part of the ‘deceitful strategies’ will have you showing your cards. Not now though.
Best of Luck at the Tables,
(c) copyright; January, 2009; no reproduction, all rights reserved by D. M. Vadnais
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