One of the most popular and recognizable casino games is poker, the name itself refers to a “family” of card games. Poker is played in a number of tournaments around the world, within casinos as well as online in various internet poker rooms.
Game Of Skill
Poker is unique in a sense to other traditional gambling games. US Federal District court ruled in 2012 that poker relies more on skill rather than chance, and thus is classified differently compared to other casino games.
Poker is very popular in Canada, where some of the world’s top poker players hone their skills. During the 2013 World Series of Poker tournament, Canadian players set a record for the number of WSOP gold bracelets won by players originating outside the US, in what many poker followers identified as the “Year of Canada.”
How To Play
Standard poker games advance in a clockwise rotation, beginning with the first player seated next to the dealer. The first player is then able to “check” their bet, or “open” the round. Subsequent players are able to continue checking the bet if no open bet was made. Otherwise, players must “call” the bet, or opt to “fold” their cards, and surrender the round.
The term check is applicable when players choose not to make a bet by passing on to the next person at the poker table. This means the player is choosing to call the current pot of zero and would like to retain his/her cards while waiting to see how other players opt to play the round.
In games where there are blinds, which are bets made prior to the deal, there are no checks in the opening round. The player who bet the big blind subsequently has the option to raise the bet, or decline to raise by “checking their option.” If all players choose to check their hands, no money is thrown into the pot, and the round is considered a “free round.”
Players verbally declare their decision to check or display their intentions by tapping the table with a fist, clenched knuckles, or an open hand.
When a player makes the first bet at the poker table, it is considered opening the round of the game or “opening the pot.” In games that utilize blinds such as “Texas Hold’em,” the blinds open the pot, and players are required to call, raise, or fold accordingly.
Other poker games allow opening bets to be larger or smaller than the smallest bet allowed on subsequent rounds. In addition, some games require players to hold a minimum value of cards – such as the popular “Jacks or Better” game.
The call in poker matches a previously laid bet, which is usually a raise or matching a blind in games that use the blinds. A betting round ends when all players call the previous bet or opt to fold their hands, which automatically allows the player who laid the bet to win the hand.
In most casinos, players are required to verbally use the words “call” or “see,” which is considered by dealers and other players a decision to match the previous bet. In online casinos and poker rooms, players click the button that says call to match the bet – except in live-stream scenarios where the rules in offline casinos apply.
When players call, they can also re-raise the initial bet but must state their intentions at the same time as they call the previous bet. Failing to identify intent to raise means the game proceeds with the round ending in a call.
A raise means to increase the amount of the bet, and add more money into the central pot. In standard poker rules, raises must be at least equal to the previous bet or raise. However, in table stakes games, the rules allow players to bet an amount that is less than the previous bet.
Some casinos use fixed-limit betting limits, which set a cap on the number of raises allowed within each round of betting. Many poker rooms implement the three-raise rule, which means players are only permitted to three raises in the round after the opening bet. A similar four-raise rule is used in other situations.
A fold means to discard the hand and surrender any opportunity of winning the poker hand. Most players will verbally indicate their intention to fold or will lay their cards face-down into the pot. Some casinos ask players to hand their cards to the dealer if they intend to fold. The dealer then has the option to show the cards to the remaining players at the table.