Juan:'So what should I say and do when I'm playing in a poker game?'
Peter:'In some types of poker before the dealer gives the players their cards, all the players who are going to play in the game have to put some money into the pot for the game. This is called the ante and is normally a small amount of money.
In Texas Hold'em poker, they don't use an ante, but two of the players in a game have to put a small amount of chips/money into the pot before they and the rest of the players receive their cards. This is called a blind bet. The rest of the players in the game don't put anything into the pot before they have their cards.'
Juan:'Ok. So, what happens when the players have their cards?'
Peter:'The first round of the poker game starts when the players have their cards. When they have looked at their cards, they have to decide if they want to continue in the game by putting money into the pot or if they want to leave the game, which is called fold.'
Juan:'Does a round happen each time new cards are given/dealt to the players or shown in the middle of the table face up?'
Peter:'Yes. In Texas Hold'em for example, the first round begins when all the players are dealt/given their own two hole or private cards. The second round begins when the dealer deals the three shared or community cards in the middle of the table. The third round begins when the dealer adds a fourth shared card in the middle of the table. The last round begins when the dealer deals the fifth and last shared card onto the table.'
Juan:'So, does the player beginning a round always have to put chips/money into the pot if they want to continue playing?'
Peter:'No, they don't. The player who has the first turn at the beginning of a round doesn't have to put chips/money into the pot (the combined money/chips from the all players which is gambled in a game) if they don't want to. If they decide not to, they say check and their turn ends and then it's the turn of the player sat to their left to decide what they want to do.
If that player also doesn't want to put chips/money into the pot, they can also say check and then it would go to the next player. But if that player thinks they have a good hand/cards they can decide to put chips/money into the pot. The first time in a round that a player puts money into the pot is called a bet.'
Juan:'So if a player makes a bet of $20. What does the next player have to do? Can they say check and not put any chips/money into the pot?'
Peter:'No. When somebody has already put chips/money into the pot, the next player can't check, they also have to put chips/money into the pot or fold/leave the game. The next player has three options: The first option is they can fold/leave the game. The second option is to put the same value of money/chips into the pot that the last player has put into the pot. This is called call. So if the last player put $20 in, when you call you put $20 into the pot also.
The last option is to put more chips/money into the pot than the last player. This is called a raise. So if the last player put $20 in, and you say raise by $10, you put $30 in.'
Juan:'So when does a round end?'
Peter:'A round ends when all the players who haven't folded and are still playing have put in the same amount/value of chips/money into the pot. So in a game of four players, if player one checks, player two folds, but player three makes a bet of $30 and player four then raises by $10 the round goes back to player one again. If player 1 wants to continue playing, he/she has to match the $40 that player four put in and call (put $40 into the pot).
It then continues to player three again. If player three wants to continue playing, he/she has to match the $40 of player three by calling and adding another €10 (to the €30 he/she originally put in) into the pot. The round will then finish because all the remaining players have each put $40 into the pot.'
Juan:'A little bit confusing, but it makes sense. I've seen people in the movies playing poker and they don't say call or raise or bet, but all-in. What does that mean?'
Peter:'It's very common in films with poker games. The phrase all-in means that a player in a round puts all of his or her chips they have on the table in front of them into the pot.'
Juan:'And what would I say if when I'm playing at a poker table and I decide not to play one game/hand before it had started and just watch the other players playing or go to the toilet?'
Peter:'When you decide not to play in a game before the game starts, is called to sit out. You have to tell the dealer that you want to sit out and they won't deal you any cards in that game.'
Juan:'I've heard that some poker games are fixed limit and others are no limit. What exactly do these mean?'
Peter:'A fixed limit game of poker is where there is a restriction on what both the minimum bet is and by how much money players can increase or raise in the game. For example, in a casino you may see a fixed limit poker game, where for the first two rounds the fixed limit is $2. That means that the the minimum bet the players can make is $2. And if one player wants to increase or raise the amount of money put into the pot, they can only increase or raise by $2.
So if the last player put $2 into the pot, the player can only raise by $2 and put a total of $4 into the put. If the next player raises, they can again only raise by $2, but because the last player put a total of $4 into the pot, he/she will have to put a total of $6 into the pot.
Normally, in fixed limit games you can only raise 3 or 4 times per round. Normally in casino fixed limit games, the limit you can bet or raise by increases in the last two rounds. For example, in a $2/$4 fixed limit game, the limit for the first two rounds is $2 and in the last two rounds the bet or raise increases to $4.'
Juan:'And I suppose that with a no limit game, there isn't any limit on how much money/chips that you can bet or raise in a game?'