- The Button was placed in front of a player
- The Small Blind and Big Blind have put their chips in the pot
- The dealer has dealt each player their hole cards
Now it is time for the first round of betting.
The player to the left of the Big Blind is first to act (decide whether to play the hand or not) after the hole cards have been dealt. Since this is the first player to act, the player is referred to as “under the gun“.
Full Table: Seat 4 is under the gun when seat 3 is the Big Blind
Partial Table: Seat 7 is under the gun when seat 6 is the Big Blind
The player under the gun looks at his/her hole cards, then can:
Player decides not to play the hand, and “mucks” the hand by tossing or moving the hole cards towards the center of the table.
Player puts the same amount of chips in as the Big Blind. This is called “limping in”.
Player decides to put in an amount greater than the Big Blind.
You must bet at least the value of the Big Blind
If the Big Blind is $10, you cannot bet $14 or $19. You must bet at least $20. Betting $20 = you are calling the Big Blind ($10) and raising one Big Blind ($10).Unlike Spread Limit, Pot Limit, and Limit Hold’em, in No Limit Hold’em, you can bet all your chips – Go “All In” (and you can go All In whenever you want).
Betting under the gun is tricky business.
At a full 9-player table, there are 8 players who will act after you when you are under the gun. Since this tutorial is about the mechanics of the game and not strategy, and in our example this is the first betting opportunity of the game, suffice it to say that beginners should act with extreme caution.
Playing under the gun is very different from playing from a later position (where there are fewer players to act after you). There are many discussions on line about how to play from this position. Search for “under the gun” or “under the gun betting”.
Verbal statements are binding
When a player announces that he/she is going to fold, call, or raise, that is the action the player must take. When declaring his/her intention to bet or raise, if the player also announces the amount of the bet or raise, that is the amount that must be bet or raised. The only time that the amount can be changed is if the amount does not meet the minimum required bet or raise. In that case, the dealer will require the player to bet or raise to the minimum and the player will not be allowed to bet or raise any more than that.
After the under the gun player acts…
After the under the gun player acts (folds, calls, or bets), the player to their left acts. That player looks at his/her hole cards and can fold, call, bet (if the under the gun player did not bet) or raise (if the under the gun player bet).
Once that player has acted, the player to their left looks at his/her hole cards and takes his/her turn…and play continues like this clockwise around the table until all players have acted (had a turn). Each player can fold, call, bet (if no player has bet yet), raise (if a player has bet and they want to increase the amount of the previous bet), or re-raise (if a player has already raised and they want to increase the amount of the raise).
When a player bets, raises, or re-raises, each player who acted before him/her is given the opportunity to respond. Let’s look at a full table to see how that works.
A Full No Limit Hold’em Table where the player in seat 4 goes first because he/she is Under the Gun
Let’s say that the player in seat 4 folds, the players in seats 5 and 6 call, and now the player in seat 7 bets two times the Big Blind. The players in seats 8, 9, 1, 2, and 3 have not had their turns (acted) yet. Since action at the table always moves clockwise, those players will respond to the bet first. When all of them have acted, the players in seats 5 and 6 who already put in chips amounting to 1 times the Big Blind will get another turn to act (respond to the bet). The players in seats 5 and 6 can fold and forfeit the chips that they have already invested. They can call by adding another Big Blind, or they can raise the bet to another amount. Once each player who is still in the hand has had the opportunity to respond to a bet, raise, or re-raise, the betting round is over.
In the example above, let’s say that the players in seats 8, 9, and 1 fold. The players in seats 2 and 3 call the bet. The player in seat 5 folds, and the player in seat 6 calls the bet. That would mean that the players in seats 7, 2, 3, and 6 are still left in the hand.