Bet Structure in a Poker Game

When you are playing poker, either online or offline, you have to know when to make bets. When you are playing poker, it is very important to bet in sequence. The player to the left of the dealer makes the first bet.

The player to the left of him can raise. The sequence follows clockwise with players deciding to call the bet, raise the bet or fold.

Calling the Bet

When you call the bet, you are simply stating that you want to stay in the game but do not want to raise the pot any more. Most players will call the bet during the first round of betting. When playing games like Seven Card Stud and Texas Holdem, betting commences each time a card is turned up. The betting does not begin until the first card is overturned. This can give the other players a chance to see what you are holding up, although they cannot see the cards that are in the hole (your pocket cards). If someone along the way raises the bet, then it is up to the next player, to the left of him, to either call or continue to raise. The betting goes around again until all players have either called or folded. 

Raising the Bet

You might not want to raise the bet when you are playing Texas Holdem and you are first starting the game. Suppose you have two Aces as your pocket cards and the first card turned up in the flop is another Ace. That means you have three Aces at least - a very potential winning hand in a seven card stud game where there are no wild cars. But if you start raising the bet right away, other players will know that you have the two aces, or at least one, and will fold. This will decrease the size of the pot. Your best bet is to pretend that you do not have much and call all bets. Never show your hand when you are in the beginning of the game. 

When you get to the turn or the river, that is the time to start raising. Especially if that fourth ace pops up. The only way someone can beat you is if they have a straight flush. The chances of that are rare so you might want to continue to raise. In tournaments, this is one way to knock out your opponents. Raise at the end of the game, even when you have a good hand, and keep your opponents in as long as possible.

Folding the Hand

When you have nothing and the flop is all turned (which means less than a pair) you should fold.  This will prevent you from losing any money. While some people will bluff and pretend that they have a great hand, this does not always work. Some serious poker players will bluff and get others to drop. But this only works if you are playing with those with whom you are not familiar, have pretty poor hands themselves (no one is going to go out with three of a kind, for example) and you do not do this trick often. You are better off to fold if, at the end of five cards dealt, you do not have a pair or better.