This article describes the common terms, rules, and procedures in the game, but does not cover the strategic impact of betting. You can also learn more about Texas Hold'em, Poker Tournaments, Poker Hand Ranks, Forced Bets, Betting Limits and Bluffing in our free online guide to strip poker. You can practice you strip poker skills with our video strip poker!
Strip Poker - Rules - Betting Procedure
Players in a poker game act in turn, in clockwise rotation (acting out of turn is a breach of etiquette and can negatively affect other players). When it is a player's turn to act, the first verbal declaration or action he takes binds him to his choice of action; this is to prevent a player from changing his action after seeing how other players react to his first action.
A player may fold by surrendering his cards (some games may have specific rules--for example, in stud poker one must turn one's up cards face down). A player may check by rapping the table or making any similar motion. All other bets are made by placing chips in front of the player, but not directly into the pot (this is called "splashing" the pot, and is also a breach of etiquette, because it prevents other players from verifying the bet amount).
Strip Poker - Rules - Betting Procedure - Open
The act of making the first non-zero bet in a betting round is called opening the round. On the first betting round, it is also called opening the pot. Some games may have special rules about opening a round that may not apply to other bets. For example, they may have a betting structure that specifies different allowable amounts for opening than for other bets, or they may require a player to hold certain cards to open.
Strip Poker - Rules - Betting Procedure - Call
To call is to make the total amount of one's bet equal to the amount of the immediately preceding bet (which will be the largest bet made in that round). All players must eventually call an equal amount for the betting round to end, or else one player must bet an amount that no one calls, thus ending the entire deal and awarding him the pot.
The second and subsequent calls of a particular bet amount are sometimes called overcalls.
A player calling a raise before he or she has invested money in the pot in that round is cold calling. For example, if in a betting round, Jerry bets, Sally raises, and Eric calls, Eric "calls two bets cold".
A player calling instead of raising with a strong hand is smooth calling, a form of slow play. Smooth calling is generally done in early betting rounds and against only one or two opponents; otherwise at least one opponent may have too good a chance of drawing out on the smooth caller and the trap backfires.
In public card rooms and casinos where verbal declarations are binding, the word "call" is such a declaration. In particular, the practice commonly seen in poker games on television and in movies of saying "I call, and raise $100" is considered a string raise and is not allowed in a serious poker game. Saying "I call" commits you to the action of calling, and only calling.
Strip Poker - Rules - Betting Procedure - Check
When no one has yet opened the betting round, one may check, which is equivalent to calling the current bet of zero. The player declines making a bet; indicating that he does not choose to open, but that he wishes to keep his cards and retain the right to call or raise later in the same round if some other player opens. A common way to signify checking is to tap the table with a fist or an open hand.
A player with a live blind who chooses not to take advantage of his right to raise is said to check his option, which can be signified the same way.
Strip Poker - Rules - Betting Procedure - Raise
To raise is to make the amount of one's bet greater than the amount of the immediately preceding bet, forcing all subsequent players to call the new amount. If the current bet amount is nothing, this action is considered the opening bet. A player making the second (not counting the open) or subsequent raise of a betting round is often said to re-raise.
Except in the case of a live blind, a player may not raise the current bet amount if he is the one who first set it. If it is that player's turn to act who first set the current amount, the betting round is closed and no further betting may take place in this round. This occurs when all other players have either called the amount or folded. All remaining players will have bet an equal total amount (except for some rare cases covered by table stakes rules).
A universal rule in casinos in the United States, and common in home games as well, is that any raise must at least equal the amount of the previous raise. For example, if a player in a spread limit or no limit game bets $5, the next player may raise by another $5 or more, but he may not raise by only $2, even if that would otherwise conform to the game's betting structure. The primary purpose of this rule is to avoid game delays caused by "nuisance" raises (small raises of large bets that do not affect the bet amount much but that take time). This rule is often overridden by table stakes rules, so that a player may in fact raise a $5 bet by $2 if that $2 is his entire remaining stake.
In many casinos, for fixed-limit or spread-limit games, there is a limit to the total number of raises allowed in a single betting round (typically three or four, not including the opening bet of a round). For example in a casino with a three-raise rule, if one player opens the betting for $5, the next raises by $5 making it $10, a third player raises another $5, and a fourth player raises $5 again making the current bet $20, the betting is said to be capped at that point, and no further raises beyond the $20 level will be allowed on that round. It is common to suspend this rule when there are only two players betting in the round (called being heads-up). Pot-limit and no-limit games do not have a limit on the number of raises.
Strip Poker - Rules - Betting Procedure - Fold
Although not specifically a betting action, to fold is to discard one's hand and forfeit any further interest in the hand or the current pot. Also called "drop" or "pass" (the latter term is ambiguous, because it can also mean check). This can be done verbally, or simply signaled by discarding one's hand into the pile of other discards called the muck. In stud poker played in the United States, it is customary to signal folding by turning all of your cards face down. In casinos in the United Kingdom, a player folds by giving his hand as is to the "house" dealer, who will spread the hand's up cards for the other players to see before mucking them.
It is a serious breach of etiquette to fold out of turn, that is, when it is not the folding player's turn to act, because this can harm other players. For example, if there are three players remaining and the first player in turn bets, the third player folding out of turn now would give valuable strategic information to the second player (who is in turn at this point), to the detriment of the bettor. In some games, even folding in turn when you are entitled to check (because there is no bet facing you) is considered an out of turn fold since it gives away information to which players would otherwise not be entitled. Finally, if a player folds out of turn in a stud poker game, the player in turn may demand that his up cards remain exposed until he has completed his turn.
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