Betting is the key to Poker, for the game, in essence, is a game of chip management.
In the course of each Poker deal, there will be one or more betting intervals in which the players have an opportunity to bet on their hands. Minimizing losses with poor hands and maximizing winnings with good hands is the underlying skill that Poker requires.
Before the cards are even dealt, the rules of the Poker game being played may require that each player put an initial contribution, called an "ante," of one or more chips into the pot, to start it off.
Each betting interval, or round, begins when a player, in turn, makes a bet of one or more chips. Each player to the left, in turn, must either "call" that bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips; or "raise," which means that the player puts in more than enough chips to call; or "drop" ("fold"), which means that the player puts no chips in the pot, discards their hand, and is out of the betting until the next deal.
When a player drops, they lose any chips that have put into that pot. Unless a player is willing to put into the pot at least as many chips as any preceding player, they must drop out.
A betting interval ends when the bets have been equalized - that is, when each player has either put in exactly as many chips as their predecessors or has dropped. There are usually two or more betting intervals for each Poker deal. After the final interval there is a "showdown," which means that each player who remains shows their hand face up on the table. The best Poker hand then takes the pot.
If a player makes a bet or a raise that no other player calls, they win the pot without showing their hand. Thus, in Poker, there is a bluffing element, and the best combination of cards does not always win the pot! Bluffing is one of the key reasons why Poker is so popular.
If a player wishes to remain in the game without betting, they "check." This means, in effect, that the player is making a "bet of nothing." A player may check provided no one before them in that betting interval has made a bet. If another player has bet, they cannot check but must at least call the bet or drop. A player who checks may raise a bet that has been raised by another player. This is called "sandbagging," which is allowed, unless it has been decided beforehand that this practice is forbidden. If all players check during a round of play, the betting interval is over, and all the players still in the pot remain in the game.
In each betting round, one player is designated as the first bettor, according to the rules of the game. The turn to bet always moves to the left, from player to player, and no one may check, bet, or even drop, except when it is their turn. 스포츠토토