One of the first things you should learn about poker is the hand rankings. After that, you need to be familiar with how betting works in poker in order to master the game. Some poker experts even claim having a clearly defined betting structure is more important than cards or hand rankings.
You can’t raise your own bet in poker. To raise in poker means to increase the size of an existing bet in the same betting round. And when another player makes a second raise, it is called ‘re-raise’.
We’ll be talking about raise and re-raise rules extensively in this article. Read it carefully and you’ll learn enough to improve your game. Remember to always wait for your turn to bet before acting. Betting before your turn gives information away to other players. And they may even modify their own bets based on your own. Folding before your turn also reveals information to your opponents.
Available Betting Options In Poker
There are five betting options in poker. And we’ll be explaining each of these options below:
You can check – What some poker players don’t know is that you can actually stay in a hand without betting until someone makes a bet. And this is termed ‘checking in poker’. It’s only after someone makes a bet that you then make yours.
You can fold – When you fold, you don’t have to put money in the pot. However, this also means you can continue in the hand. You’ve essentially given up right to continue the poker session. Also, any bet you already made or money put in the pot is gone too. You must relinquish your cards when you fold and they will be added to the muck which is a pile of other discarded hands.
You can bet – The very first person to make a bet in a poker session is the one ‘betting’ i.e the very first wager at the table. After someone has placed a bet, other players have to take action. They can either fold, call, or raise. Whichever works for them.
You can call – This happens after someone has bet in the poker session. And this means you’ve decided to match the bet of the person and continue the poker session until a winner emerges.
However, you can change your mind later in the session and fold.
You can raise – This happens when you increase the size of a bet after someone has bet.
Can You Raise Your Own Bet In Poker
We’ve met a number of people who are interested in whether they can raise their own bet in poker. Now the rule of poker is that after someone makes a bet, others must call (wager the same amount) or raise the bet (by matching the highest bet made, then going on to make a greater one).
If after making a bet all the other players call your end, then the betting round will be over. The only way the betting round continues is if someone raises or re-raises and this forces you to at least match their bets. Therefore, you can’t raise your own bet in poker.
Most people think raising in poker is straightforward. No, raising is an art you’ll come to perfect as you have more experience.
Raising must be done right if it is to be effective. And the size and timing of the raise are big determinants of whether the raise will be successful.
Re-raise in poker is to make a raise after a raise has already been made in the current betting round. This makes the re-raise technically a second raise. For example, player A bets a certain amount, then player B matches the amount and raises, then player C matches B’s bet then re-raises.
So what’s all the fuss about re-raise? Regardless of the variant of poker, you are playing, one of the most essential skills the game requires is how to regulate the pot. A good poker player will aim to build the pot when he’s likely to have a strong hand. And this means he/she will be going home with more money. Should a player have mid-strength and weak holdings, the aim should be to limit the size of the pot. This makes raising and re-raising powerful tools that poker players used to grow the size of the pot.
Re-raise is not just limited to postflop. You can also re-raise preflop, it is more commonly known as 3bet.
The amount by which you can raise or re-raise an existing bet will depend on the betting structure of the game you are playing. Generally, there are three betting structures which will be discussed below:
Fixed Limit – Here, you raise and re-raise bets in fixed increments.
Pot Limit – In this structure of betting, the maximum amount that can be raised or re-raised is the size of the pot.
No Limit – As the name suggests, there is to the amount you can raise or re-raise.
Calculating The Minimum Legal Raise Size In A No Limit Game
You should know that there is a minimum raise size in No Limit games and this doesn’t necessarily mean twice of the previous bet. The minimum raise size is simply the size of the previous raise in the betting round.
Take for instance a 3bb open-raise in No-limit Hold’em from the bottom. The minimum re-raise size here will actually be 5bb as opposed to 6bb. And the reason for this is because the open raise of 3bb is in fact a raise of 2bb over the preceding bet sizing (1bb). Now, the original opener can go on to re-raise to 7bb if he’s facing a re-raise of 5bb.
This is different on the flop since the first raise will have to be at least twice the initial bet. This is because the initial bet is actually a raise of the starting bet which is 0bb on the flop.
Calculating Pot-sized Raise For Pot-limit Games?
It’s common to see poker players calculating pot-sized raises incorrectly. This is even more true for online players as the software automatically does the calculation for them. Live players generally tend to know about the calculation as most of them do not want to be constantly asking the dealer.
Let’s assume there is a $10 in the middle on the flop in a Hold’em game. And someone then places a bet of $5 into the pot. How do we calculate a pot-sized raise? At surface level, it’s easy to assume the pot-sized raise to be $20 total. However, this calculation is wrong.
The right way to go about this is to first imagine we’ve called and then calculate the total pot size. So using the above example, there will be $20 in the pot after calling. Then, we can raise our bet by $5 to have a total bet size of $25.
Table Stakes and All-in
Perhaps, you’ve seen a movie or TV show featuring a poker scene where a player is faced with a bet exceeding the number of chips he/she has at the table. To stay in the hand, said player then has to wager a watch or perhaps a car. We have to admit it, that makes for some good and interesting drama. But the truth is that real-life poker doesn’t operate like that.
Most real-life poker games are played with table stakes. And this means that you can only use the number of chips you have at the beginning of a hand throughout the hand. So what happens when you are facing a bet exceeding your chips like our dear friends in the movies we described above. Do you then have to forfeit the hand?
The answer is no thanks to the ‘All-In’ rule which states that “a player cannot be forced to forfeit a poker hand because the player does not have enough chips to call a bet.”
So a player that doesn’t have sufficient chips to call a bet has to declare an All-In. Then he/she will bet all the chips he has in his possession. Also, the player is eligible to a percentage of the pot until his final bet. Then the other players can continue betting in a side pot. A player that has called All-In can’t win from the side pot.