Poker Basics

Poker Blinds and Antes

While there is no rule that states you must play poker for money, most players find even a small wager makes the game more exciting. Naturally, different poker games have different types of bets. Here is a crash course:

Most Hold'em (short for Texas Hold'em) poker games require players to post
blinds (initial bets) before any cards are dealt in order to stimulate the betting (i.e., so that there will be money to win). Usually there are two blinds -- a small blind and a big blind -- in each playing round. The players who post the small and big blinds rotates one place to the left after each hand. At the beginning of the game, the player who posts the small blind is the player sitting to the left of the dealer, and the player who posts the big blind is sitting to the left of the player who posted the small blind. The size of the big and small blinds can vary depending on where you are playing, but the big blind is most generally the minimum bet at the table and the small blind is half of that amount (for instance, if the minimum bet at the table is $10, then the big blind would be $10 and the small blind would be $5). On the first round of betting, the big blind plays last since that player already has a full bet in the pot.

If you are entering an existing Hold'em game, you will probably be required to post the big blind in order to play. If your seat is near the big blind on your right, you will probably want to wait until the big blind is at your
position. If you are already in a Hold'em game and you leave the table and miss the blinds, you will be required to post both blinds in order to resume play, or you can wait until the big blind comes to your position.

In Draw, Stud, and other poker games, antes are required of each player. The ante varies according to the agreement of the players or according to the rules of a casino or poker room. In some cases, such as in a tournament, both antes and blinds may be required.

While there are many variations of classic poker, this article has provided some of the basic tools you need to get started. Now you can sit down at a poker table and ante up.

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