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The Actual Game - How Poker Is Played!

May 31, 2008
After having read all about poker, you must be really enthusiastic to know how exactly it is played, from the beginning to the end.

Before the game begins players decide on the betting limit, which is the amount they would be playing for. A betting limit game keeps the game within boundaries unlike the no-limit games.

Each player has to place an "ante," the token bet, into the pot before the dealer deals the cards, which can be any amount. An ante ensures that some player will always win some money with each hand.

Once every player adds the ante to the pot, the cards are dealt around the table clockwise; starting with the player on the dealer's left. He continues until all the players get five cards each, dealt face down. The rest of the cards are placed face down on the table.

Then the play begins and each player checks out their cards and the first player places the bet. Although there are different ways of deciding which player places the bet first, it is usually the player to the left of the dealer who makes the first bet. For the next hand, the player to his left places the bet first and this goes in rotation around the table.

If after the first round, no player has made a bet, there are two options:

If no betting has taken place when your turn comes, you can make the first bet by "opening the pot." You may also "check" if no other player has opened the pot yet. Checking means that the player does not want to open the betting, but wants to remain in the game and not quit.

Eventually, once the bet opens, there are three things you can do:

You can "see," which means that you want to match the previous player's bet by betting the same amount.

You can "see" and then "raise," which means you are betting the same amount as the previous player and then adding some more to your bet.

Another option is to "fold." People fold when they want to quit playing that game. You can fold when you have a weak hand and are sure you are going to lose. You will have to place your cards on the table face down, and say "fold."

Now that the bet is open, players are permitted to get rid of the cards they do not need and take new cards. Every player is allowed to get rid of up to a maximum of three cards and take a maximum of three new cards from the cards in the center of the table (deck.) Even the discarded cards are placed face down, so no one can see the cards.

Once all the players draw the new cards, the betting starts again. You now have the option of opening or checking, and once a player opens, you can then see, raise or fold. The game closes when there are no more raises or when every player, except the winner folds.

Now all players turn their cards face up and the player with the highest hand wins the pot. Here, we are not talking about players that have folded.

The only way to remain in the game is not to fold. If you feel that you have a bad hand and you do not stand a chance, you can fold. If you think you may be having a good hand, then it is always better to stay in. If you have a wonderful hand, then obviously you would stay in. But you must never give a clue that you have a great hand, then all players will fold leaving you to win only a tiny pot, which is not what you want. The trick is to make other players bet a lot and win as much as possible. Being a great liar could just put loads of dollars in your pocket.
About the Author
Matthew Smith has been playing poker online for many years with great success and now offers his expert advice to help new players succeed using free poker money.
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