There are rules and actions that sometimes elude beginners. Here’s a look at some of the more popular ones.
STRING BETS: Putting in a calling bet, then going back for more chips to add to your bet while announcing, “raise” is a string bet and isn’t permitted. If you want to raise, announce it and the amount before you make any betting motion with chips. Your raise is then clearly understood by the table and won’t matter if you fumble with chips or go back and forth to your stack.
ALL-IN: If you don’t have enough chips to cover a bet, you can announce “all-in.” You’re then in the pot for only the portion your money covered until that point. Though you’re out of chips, the other players can continue to bet in a side pot, which you aren’t eligible to win.
SPLASHING THE POT: When you bet, simply and neatly, put the chips in front of you so the dealer can reach them. Don’t toss them onto the table and have them roll or bounce into the pot. This is called “splashing the pot,” and may not allow the dealer to precisely count the chips you bet.
PROTECTING YOUR CARDS: Place a chip or small object on your cards after you’ve looked at them. It lets the dealer know your cards are in play. If not, the dealer may muck your unprotected cards, thinking you wanted to fold. Not being attentive at the table can cost you a pot.
All cards must remain in plain sight and you should not remove them from the table. The best way to view your cards is to shield them with your hands and peek at the two corners of the cards.
And practice remembering those cards as you should avoid frequent looks at them because it’s a tell.
At the end of any hand, if you’re not sure whether you have the winning hand, turn the cards over and place them just in front of your stack and keep your hand on them until the dealer calls out the winning hand.
Cards speak, so when in doubt, let the dealer make a final determination as you could miss your flush and hit a straight and not realize it.
Make sure you see a winning hand, as some players may misread their hands and announce a hand they don’t hold. Once you muck your cards, your hand will be declared dead.
— Al Spath is the former Dean at Poker School Online and continues to teach poker online and live. His free YouTube Poker Channel (Al Spath) has hundreds of instructional videos to view. Al’s live broadcasts are on TwitchTV: follow (PositivePokerInsiders). Contact Al directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions coaching inquires.