If you’re new to poker, hearing “big blind” may bring to mind a big man who can’t see. But now that you’ve come here, you need not worry. This page will help you get into the grove by learning about Poker betting basics. Before a hand is even dealt, players put money in the pot. This way, each player has something at stake in the game before the first card is dealt. This is done through Blinds.
BLINDS – SMALL AND BIG
Blinds are a way to start the action rolling is by making players put in a forced bet, called a “blind” before the deal. It’s called a blind because you haven’t seen a card when you put in this bet; you’re going in without watching, or blind. The two players to the left of the dealer pay the blinds. There are two blinds in Hold’em – a small blind and a big blind. The player directly to the left of the dealer puts a small blind. The big blind is placed by the player to the left of the small blind. The minimum raise in a betting round equals the big blind. Therefore the size of the blinds will dictate the stakes of the game. In certain formats of the poker game, all players may have to put in an ‘Ante’ in addition to the blinds.
BLINDS – SMALL AND BIG
Blinds are a way to start the action rolling is by making players put in a forced bet, called a “blind” before the deal. It’s called a blind because you haven’t seen a card when you put in this bet; you’re going in without watching, or blind. The two players to the left of the dealer pay the blinds. There are two blinds in Hold’em – a small blind and a big blind. The player directly to the left of the dealer puts a small blind. The big blind is placed by the player to the left of the small blind. The minimum raise in a betting round equals the big blind. Therefore the size of the blinds will dictate the stakes of the game. In certain formats of the poker game, all players may have to put in an ‘Ante’ in addition to the blinds. There are two types of limits on a bet in a game of poker:
- NO LIMIT
Minimum bet size in this format is the big blind. The minimum raise is equal to the big blind. For example, if the previous bet was 20 and the big blind was 10, then call is at 20 and raise is at 20 + 10 i.e. the new bet will be 30. For the next player, the call is at 30 and the raise (min raise of 10) will make the bet as 40 or more. There is no limit to the maximum bet size. You can bet your entire stack when it is your turn. The raise can only be in multiples of the big blind.
- FIXED LIMIT
There is a small bet and a big bet. Typically, the small bet is equal to the big blind and the big bet is double the small bet. The maximum number of raises in a hand is 4 i.e. maximum bet in a round can be 4 times the bet. After 4 players have risen, the only option for the next player is to call or fold i.e. no more raises. In preflop and flop, the raise amounts are equal to small bets. While in turn and river, the raise is equal to the big bet.
For e.g. -Say, the small blind is 10, the big blind is 20, small bet is 20 & big bet is 40.
Preflop / Flop: the first player rises to 20. Then next player calls 20. Then the third player rises to 20+20 = 40. Then next player rises to 40+20 = 60.
Turn / River: the first player rises to 40. Then next player calls 40. Then the third player rises to 40+40 = 80. Then next player rises to 80+40 = 120
Note the difference with No-Limit betting.
The dealer button moves 1 position clockwise after every game – only occupied seats are considered while moving the dealer button. The small blind is paid by the first active player clockwise from the dealer and the big blind is put in by the first player sitting clockwise from the player who put in the small blind.
ALL-IN AND SIDE POT RULES
Normally in a betting round, all participating players should have bet equal amounts. However in case one or more active players do not have enough money to call a bet, they have the option of going All in. In such a scenario, the pot is split. The main pot contains the amount put in by the player who has just gone All-in plus an equal amount from all the active players. The side pot contains the remaining amount.
Note that the player who went All-in does not have any stake in the side pot. The winner of the side pot is computed based on the other players (not including the All-in player). The All-in player can only win the amount kept in the main pot.
The main pot also includes the amount from players who may fold in this hand. Their amount equal to the All-in amount will be put in the main pot. Any surplus will go to side pot. In case there are multiple All-Ins, there would be multiple side pots.
A player can go All-in in two scenarios –
(A) The player does not have enough money to call a bet and hence goes All-in.
(B) The player has enough money to call but still, goes All-in (on a raise).
In scenario (A), the next player will have to call or raise based on the bet made by the player previous to the all-in player (i.e. the last player who made a full bet).
In scenario (B), the next player will have to call or raise based on the All-in bet made.
Understanding Table Positions
The key to winning low stakes Texas Hold’em games is to choose the right cards to play in a hand. And this often depends on your position i.e. where you sit. The seat to the right of the dealer is possibly the best seat to be had. It allows you to see what most players do before you have to act. The worst seats at a poker table are seats in early position i.e. the two seats to the left of the dealer. They have to act first in betting rounds which mean that they don’t have the advantage of knowing what their opponents are going to do first.
When you are in the early position, you should only play the best hands simply because there are too many people to act after you. You are not wrong if you think that rising too early is not a good option but then it has its benefits. First of all, the pot gets bigger and you win a handsome amount if you win. Secondly, it also protects your hand because of lesser the number of players in the game, the more chances you have of winning.
When you are in the middle position, you can add a few more hands to your raising range. And if there had been no raise in front of you, then getting even more ambitious is not a bad option.
In late position, you can raise with even more cards including the middle position cards. We mean to say that although you have a number of good reasons for rising, you should also try to make other players fold in the late position.
When you are in the blind stages, don’t get into a habit of calling just because you have been put in a big blind; only re-raise with good hands or just fold.