Juan:'So in the first round of game of Texas Hold'em. After the two players have had to put blind bets (bets that two of the players have to make before any of the players receive their first two cards). What do the rest of the players do when they are all dealt their two private/hole cards?'
Peter:'All the players 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 to fold. Because two of the players have have put money into the pot with the blind bets, the rest of the players have to match the amount put in by the person who has the big blind button in front of them if they want to continue playing (including the player with the small blind button, who has to double the amount they put in at the start of the game).'
Juan:'Does a round happen each time new cards are given to the players or shown in the middle of the table face up?'
Peter:'Yes. A round is when the players can bet their money or chips in a game. In Texas Hold'em the first round is normally called the pre-flop. It begins when the players are given their 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. When the first three community cards are dealt. This second round is called the flop in Texas Holdem.
The third round (which is called the turn) begins when the dealer adds a fourth community card in the middle of the table. The last round (which is called the river) begins when the dealer deals the fifth and last community card on the table.
After all the players left in the game have put the same amount of chips/money into the pot in 'the river' round, the round ends and they then have to show their cards to see who has won the game.'
Juan:'So, I know how the first round starts, after the two players to the left of the player with the dealer button put the blind bets into the pot and all the players receive their first two cards. But which player starts the second round?'
Peter:'In all the rounds except the first it is the first player who is still playing and is sat to the left of the player with the dealer button who starts the round. In the first round, it is player sat to the left of the player with the big blind button who starts the round.'
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. If they don't want to put chips/money into the pot, they say check and then it goes to the next player. 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 he has a good hand/cards they can decide to put chips/money into the pot. The first time in a round (except in the first 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, they can't check, they also have to gamble chips/money or fold/leave the game.
The next player has three options. The first option is that 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 to call. So if the last player put $20 in, when you call you also put $20 in.
The last option is to put more chips/money into the pot than the last player. This is called to raise. So if the last player put $20 in, and you 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 4 players, if player 1 checks, player 2 folds, but player 3 makes a bet of $30 and player 4 then raises by $10 the round continues and it goes back to player 1 again. If player 1 wants to continue playing, he/she has to match the $40 that player 4 put in and call (put $40 into the pot).
It then continues to player 3 again. If player 3 wants to continue playing, he/she has to match the $40 of player 4 by calling and adding another €10 to 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 say 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 (called his or her 'table stakes') into the pot.'
Juan:'Ok, but what happens if one of the players has put $120 into the pot in a round and one of the other players only has $100 of chips on the table. They would have to fold/leave the game in that round because they don't have the chips/money to match what has been put into the pot in that round?'
Peter:'No they don't have to fold. If the player has a good hand and thinks that they could win the game, they could go all-in in the round.'
Juan:'But you said that all players have to put the same amount of money into the pot to continue playing in the game? If one of the players has put $120 into the pot and one of the other players has gone all-in and only put $100 in, it doesn't seem fair to the player who has put the extra $20 in!'
Peter:'In that situation, if these are the only two players left in the game, the player who has put $20 extra into the pot, removes it and then the dealer deals the remaining community cards and then each player shows their hands to the dealer and to the other players to see who has won.'
Juan:'But what happens if there are more than two players left when somebody goes all-in? Do all the players have to remove the extra chips/money they have put into the pot?'
Peter:'It gets a little complicated now. If there are more than two players left in a game when one of the players goes all-in, the chips/money is separated into two different pots (the main pot and the side pot) so the poker game can continue if the other players want to put more chips/money into the game.
For example, imagine there are three players left in a poker game. At the start of the third round, player 1 bets $50, player 2 only has $40 left, so he goes all-in with his/her $40. Player 3 raises by €10, so puts $60 into the pot. The round returns to player 1, who calls, so matches the $60 of player 3 by adding $10 to his/her original $50.
To make it fair for all the players, $40 from each player is put into what is called the main pot. All three players could win this main pot. The extra money ($20 each) which has been put into the game by players 1 and 3 is put into another pot which can only be won by them two (not player 2). This is called a side pot and this is where all the chips/money will be placed in the next round until the game finishes.'
Juan:'So when all three players show their cards at the end of the game, which is called the showdown, if player 1 has three number 7s, player 2 has four Queens and player 3 has two number 10s. Player 2 will win the chips/money in the main pot, but who wins the chips/money in the side pot?'
Peter:'Player 1 will win the chips/money in the side pot because his hand is better than Player 3's hand.'
Juan:'That makes sense.'