Lesson 2: The Betting
Poker is a game all about betting. As Kenny Rogers sang, "You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em" At the beginning of each hand, each player typically places a small amount of money, known as the ante, into the center of the table. Some forms of poker use alternatives to antes such as blind bets, which are used in hold 'em poker games. These bets form the initial pot, which will go to the winner of the hand. At certain times during the deal and play of a hand, players may make additional bets, increasing the value of the pot. Whenever a player bets, other players must match the bet in order to continue playing. This is known as seeing the bet or calling the bet. Players may also raise to increase the amount of the bet or drop out of the hand. Dropping out of a hand in called folding. Players may fold when they know they have no chance of winning the pot. When a player folds he forfeits the money that he has added to the pot but does not have to add any additional money as the other players continue to bet. If all players fold except for one then that player automatically wins the pot.
Poker betting rules can vary greatly depending on which variation of the game is being played. Most games are limit games, where there is a maximum amount players may bet or raise, as well as a maximum number of raises allowed per round of betting. High-stakes games are sometimes pot limit games, in which the current size of the pot determines the maximum allowable bet, or no-limit games, in which players' bets are limited only by the amount of money they have brought to the table.