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Hey, I’m Nicky Numbers, Professional Poker Player, and today, I’m going to talk to you about the rules of poker. Hold em is a game where each player starts with two down cards. However, before they even deal, there are two players that are forced to put out bets, known as the blinds. There is typically a small blind, and a big blind, and these are forced bets that players have to put out, before the hand is even dealt. Each hand, the blinds move from player to player, around the table, so that it’s fair. After the blinds are posted, which means the blinds have been put up, and actually are out in front of the players, the hand begins. The dealer gives each player two cards, one at a time.
So, the cards are dealt, and each player is given two down cards. They then have to choose whether to stay in the hand, or fold. A round of betting then takes place starting immediately after the big blind, which is known as under the gun, because they’re forced to act first. Players choose to either stay in the hand by calling the big blind, meaning they put in the same amount of chips, or increasing the size of the wage of this round, often based on their hole cards, by raising. Alternatively, and most commonly, players decide not to participate in the hand, put in no further chips into the pot, and fold their cards. Once all the players have acted, three cards are dealt, known as the flop. These are community cards that any player in the hand can use. After the three community cards, known as the flop, appear, another round of betting takes place, except this time, there’s no forced bets, like there are pre-flop, with the blinds.
Players have two options, they can check, or they can bet. Checking is when you choose to let the other players act before you, typically indicated by saying, “I check,” or tapping the table. If all the players in the hand check, then the next card comes, which nobody put money to see. The next card, is known as the turn. If instead of checking, one of the players had bet, then they would force the other players in the hand to commit more chips in order to continue, otherwise, those players would have to fold, and the player who made the bet would be awarded the pot. Otherwise, if one or more players call the bet, the hand will continue to the turn. The turn is another additional community card, that unlike the flop, comes off as one card, instead of three. However, like the flop, a betting round takes place in the same way. If all the players in the hand check on the turn, or there’s a bet, and it’s called, the final community card comes, known as the river. The river is another single community card after which a round of betting takes place, just like it did on the flop, and the turn.
The only difference is, that after this round of betting, if two or more players are still in the hand, then a showdown occurs, where all the players still in the hand, after the river, show their cards, and the dealer awards the pot to the best five card hand. So, there you go, the down and dirty rules to poker. Like Mike Sexton says, Poker Hall of Famer, and Ambassador for the World Poker Tour, “It takes a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master.”