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 Now that we’ve talked about what happens before a hand is dealt, we can now move on to what happens once you’ve got the cards in your hot little virtual hands.

✦ Check

When a player checks, it means they take no action, neither putting chips into the pot nor folding. It is not possible to check during the first round of betting because of the mandatory actions described in the previous section. There will always be some bet you’ll need to match to stay in the hand. In the other rounds a player may decline to bet if no player acting before them has bet.

✦ Bet

This is when you like your hand to the point that you’re willing to put some money behind it. Betting amounts may be fi xed or may vary, depending on the game.

✦ Call

You like your hand enough to stay in and match the current bet. If the big blind is $2 and no one has raised to $4, for example, it will cost only $2 to stay in. If one or more raises have happened, you must match the total amount it is “to go.”

✦ Raise

When you feel it is in your best interest to force your opponents to put more money in the pot, you may raise. Raising says to your opponents “I have a good hand! How good is your hand?” If someone “re-raises” you, they’re saying “My hand’s better than your hand!” Of course, that may not always be the case. Poker bluffing is a very common tactic, especially at the higher-dollar and no-limit games. Future chapters talk about when to bluff and how to go about deciding if your opponent is bluffi ng.

✦ Fold

Living to fi ght another day, you give up your hand and all the chips you’ve put into the pot to that point. Fresh cards, please…

✦ Check-raising is allowed

In this case, a player wanting to make the pot larger will decline to bet at their first opportunity, hoping another player will bet. When it comes to the player who originally checked, they raise! Traditionally, checkraising was frowned upon in “friendly” games. For some, this is still the case. In any brick-and-mortar or virtual card room, however, it is allowed and is seen as a legitimate tactic.


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