If you’ve played poker a few times already, you know how the game works. There are two hole cards that are dealt to each of the players on the table. Then there are five community cards that are opened face up. These are common to everyone at the table, and each player has to make the best hand of five cards of the seven available to him. Then there is money involved. Poker without stakes is like cricket without a ball. So, there is betting.
The Four Rounds of Betting
Now, there would be those who have played a little bit more. They know that there are rounds of betting. First is the pre-flop betting. This is as soon as the hole cards are dealt. Each player knows his hole cards. And the betting is on those two cards. The next round of betting takes place upon the flop. Flop is when the first three cards are opened from the remaining deck, after the top card is burnt. After this round of betting, the turn takes place. The top card is burnt, and the next card is placed face up.
There are four cards face up on the table. Then comes the third round of betting. And lastly, the river, i.e. the last community card is opened, after burning another card. Then the last round of betting takes place, after which the best hands win. The betting begins when the player right next to the dealer throws in the small blind. And the player sitting on his left throws the big blind.
Now, there are ways that you can play each round of betting, without the other players figuring out what hole cards you have. Or you can change the way you bet, with each round and each hand. This will also keep the prying eyes of the other players at bay. You’ll be safe from the other players figuring out your pocket cards, until you show them. The best way to completely curtain your strategy is to never show your pocket cards.
Further, there are connotations to each round of betting, which may also allow the other players to guess what cards you have. If you raise high on the pre-flop, then either you have face cards or suited high cards. However, you may call a high raise, then either you are looking for good cards on the flop, or you have good cards in your pocket. Then, the number of players who call a high raise, or raise the stakes further still determine the number of face cards or good cards already dealt. This will reduce the probability of good face cards, like aces or kings to show up in the community.
Then, the number of players still playing will decide the next round of better. The flop has been turned. There are three open cards on the table. The first one that raises is either bluffing, or awaiting a good turn, or actually has a hand from the five cards available to him. That is for you to figure out. The bigger the raise, the better the chances of the hand being good, or extremely bad.
Now the number of players reduce to a large extent after the post-flop betting. The post flop betting gives players three choices, as per their hands. Either your hand is extremely mediocre, and you would not lose miserably, but you’re not winning either. That is when you fold as soon as someone raises. Or your hand is actually pretty good, when you can either call or raise. The amount of money you raise will also be a tell for the quality of your hand.
It is not unusual to see the entire table checking on the turn. The turn card is almost a decider. Six of the seven cards are open. You have either got a good hand or not. There is little chance for the inside draw. Be it straight, or flush. So, if you’re raising, you have got a good flop. Or you’re checking to see whether the other players have a good hand after the turn. So, one generally checks this round of betting.
As soon as the river card is turned, the entire table is uncovered. Probabilities turn to certainties. This is the round of betting that can make, keep or break your game. If someone raises heftily, say 5x, he either has a good hand or a good bluff. That’s that. If one is trying to check how their hand fairs, they may raise a little. But raising on the river will decide how good your hand is or how bad you need to bluff. Raise more and you shall win more. That’s the trick, if you have a hand, or don’t.
If you have the best hand, raise well, though. Raising excessively may become a tell. So, if you’re not heads up against a similarly well hand, they will fold. Thus, we always advice… raise responsibly.
Now you know the various rounds of betting and how to play them. The more you play, the more you’ll learn. And as the wise have said, 9stacks is the best platform to play, learn and earn poker. The best way to learn poker is by playing freeroll tournaments. Thereafter, move to tournaments to see how you fair with your money. And then play cash games to improve your game the best. At last, play multi-table poker at 9stacks to play to win, and check your gameplay at the platform as well. When you want, we provide… a chance to play #PokerAnytimeAnywhere.