Poker Basics

   The Mathematics of Poker

   Poker Strategies

   Poker Game Cases

   Poker Vocabulary

   Online Poker





Without betting, poker would be a game of luck and the best hand would always win. It would be pretty boring too - about as exciting as flipping coins. Betting is the key to poker. Remember, poker is a game of money played with cards: Maximizing wins with your good hands while minimizing losses when you're beaten is what poker's all about.

- In fixed-limit games, the most common type online, bets and raises are made in tiered, predetermined amounts. In fixed-limit Omaha and Texas hold'em games, bets double on the last two betting rounds. If you're playing a $4-$8 games, the first two rounds of betting are based on four-dollar increments, while the last two rounds are based on eight- dollar limits. In stud games, betting doubles on the third betting round, when you have five cards in front of you. Poker players call this round "Fifth Street." It's a term you'll hear a lot, so you might as well learn it now.

- In spread-limit games, bettors can wager any amount within given limits. If the limits are $2-$10, bets can be made at any amount of even dollar increments at any time, as long as a raise is at least equal to the bet or raise that preceded it.

- Many games and tournaments online are played pot-limit. In them. bets or raises are limited only by the amount of money in the pot when it's time to act. Beginners, be warned: This can be a big games! A player who raises may count his call as part of the pot. So if the pot contains $20 and someone wagers $20, a raiser may match that $20 bet - thus making the total pot $60 - and raise another $60. When the raiser is done, he'll have tossed $80 into the pot, making the total amount of money in the pot $120.

- In a no-limit games, a player may bet or raise any amount of chips in his stack at any time. This games structure is very popular for Internet tournaments, and there are some no-limit cash games online as well. This is a game with no brakes, so when played for cash, it's not for beginners. That said, in either pot-limit or no-limit games, the amount you have on the table is the most you can lose in any one hand. If you have just ten dollars in chips, that's the most you can lose unless you buy more.

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