Poker can be an extremely confusing game, especially if you’ve never played before. Try any online poker room for a first game. Before throwing yourself into the fray unprepared, there are various terms and ideas you should familiarise yourself with.
One of the most important things to be aware of is the protocol at the start of a poker game. Before the game even begins proper, prior to the first hand being dealt, players must put some money into the pot. This means that each player has something to stake before the first card has been dealt. There are two different ways in which money can be contributed, depending on the game you are playing.
If you’re playing a version of poker with what is called an ante, each and every player must contribute a certain, predetermined amount to the pot before each hand of the game. Usually this is a relatively small bet. The essential thing about the ante is that it’s not actually a bet, just a method of getting the ball rolling and the game started with money in the pot.
A blind is a forced bet made before the deal. It’s a blind bet because you haven’t yet seen a card, so you don’t know anything about the course the game may take. The standard practice for putting in blinds is that the two players who are to the left of the dealer pay them in. There are two blinds to be paid, one “little” and one “large”. The player immediately to the left of the dealer usually plays the smaller “little” blind and the player two places to the dealer’s left plays the more substantial “large” blind.
The actual amounts of both “small” and “big” blinds are predetermined before the game begins. The sum of the blinds often depends on the kind of game you’re playing and the minimum bet associated with that game. The “large” blind is usually equal to the minimum bet of the game, while the “little” blind is perhaps a half or a third of that amount.
If the minimum bet was £10, for example, the “large” blind would also be £10 while the “little” blind might be between £3 and £5. Blinds do count as a player’s first bet, which means that in the first round of betting in these kinds of games no one can “check” out, everyone has to place a bet.