While most of the emphasis of an online poker strategy will be on the cards in your hand, a top player knows that everything at the table can affect the results of a hand, including their own chips. Poker betting is an important part of the poker rules, but it can also be used as an extension of your online poker strategy. Poker betting actually begins before the cards are dealt. In most games, players must “ante up,” meaning that they must put a specified amount of money into the pot. Some poker variants have a consistent ante that is required of everyone while others have blinds. The idea of these mandatory bets is to ensure that every hand offers the winner a pot.
Like the dealer position in games like Texas Hold'em and Omaha, the blind positions rotate clockwise with every hand. The person to the left of the dealer is the “big blind," and the person to the left of them is the “small blind.” The big blind must post the minimum bet, while the small blind posts half of the minimum. In order to see the flop, the small blind must meet the current bet; if no one raises then the big blind has already paid their way through the flop. If you are in a blind position but have a poor hand and the bet is raised, you shouldn't let your mandatory bet make you feel obligated to stay in the hand; remember that winning poker strategies are all about taking only the smartest gambles. Good poker strategies use betting to both protect and improve a player's position. Consider this poker tip: If you’re the big blind and no one raises, you can float into the flop without the other players knowing how you feel about your hand.
Poker betting terminology:
Raise - A player bets more money.
Call (or “See”) - A player matches a raise.
Check - If no bets have been placed, a player may pass the bet. Announcing “check,” tapping on the table or making a horizontal hand motion signals your decision to check.
Fold - A player discards his hand and forfeits the round.
These four terms cover the betting basics but are also at the heart of poker strategy. Betting, like dealing, goes clockwise from the dealer. Poker strategy also utilizes betting position; betting from a late position gives you a chance to assess the strength of your opponents' cards. After all betting commences, if more than one player is left there is a “showdown.” The last player to bet reveals his cards followed by the rest of the players in clockwise order. Often players that have been bluffing will "muck" their cards; that means that they elect not to reveal their hand. This too is an important poker strategy, as it makes it harder for your opponents to peg your playing style.
Bluffing is one of the most popular advanced poker strategies. This poker strategy is all about getting something for nothing. A player with a bad hand may bet as if he has a good one if he believes his opponents are likely to fold. Alternately, a player with a good hand may bet weakly to lure other players into the pot. A lot of acting and careful deception are integral to winning poker with a bluff. When you're playing online, well-timed and aggressive betting is the only way to pull off a bluff, so confidence is key.
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