Betting Actions in Poker Games

Poker is a group of card games that share certain features, like hand rankings and betting rules. There are number of betting actions that a poker player can opt to take, and one of the things that makes poker unique among other kinds of card games is the fact that player usually contributes to the pot completely voluntarily, because they believe that the investment they have made in placing their bets into the pot will have a positive expected value; which is to say that they believe they have a chance of winning.

The one exception to this is the fact that in order to "open the pot," or to make sure that there is a pot to be won in the first place, there is usually a forced bet, which is made even before the cards are dealt. Otherwise, players have the options of checking, opening, calling, raising, or folding on a bet.

In poker, the first bet in a betting round where a player puts money into the pot is called an "open." If a player should wish to forgo opening in a betting round, they can instead check. When a player checks, no bets have been made to the pot yet, for that betting round, and the player opts not to place any money into the pot yet either.

In checking the current bet is counted as being "zero." When a player opens; which is when a bet is made to the pot for the first time in a betting round, the next player must be able to call the amount. When a player calls a bet, they are either matching it -putting in the same amount of money as the player before them- or they are raising the bet. When raising, the amount of money determined for the bet is changed. When a single player raises, they put in more money than the previous player, which then requires all of the other players to contribute again.

Usually, there are restrictions to raising, since raising a bet too many times in a single round can be time-consuming, since when a person raises, they are essentially re-opening or restarting a betting round and forcing other players to contribute again. If a player no longer wishes to continue playing for that hand, or if they believe that they no longer have the chance to win the pot, they have the option to fold. When a player folds, they put down their cards without showing their hand to other players. In folding, a player is no longer required to contribute to the pot on their turn, but they are also no longer in contention for the pot for that particular hand.