Blind (poker)

The blinds are forced bets posted by players to the left of the dealer button in flop-style poker games. The number of blinds is usually two, but it can range from none to three. The small blind is placed by the player to the left of the dealer button and the big blind is then posted by the next player to the left. The one exception is when there are only two players (a "heads-up" game), when the player on the button is the small blind, and the other player is the big blind. (Both the player and the bet may be referred to as big or small blind.) After the cards are dealt, the player to the left of the big blind is the first to act during the first betting round. If all players call the big blind, the big blind is then given an extra opportunity to raise. This is known as a live blind. If the live blind checks, the betting round then ends. Generally, the "big blind" is equal to the minimum bet. The "small blind" is normally half the big blind. In cases where posting exactly half the big blind is impractical due to the big blind being some odd-valued denomination, the small blind is rounded down to the nearest practical value. For example, if the big blind in a live table game is $3 then the small blind will usually be $1 or $2 since most casinos do not distribute large quantities of $0.50 poker chips. The blinds exist because Omaha and Texas hold 'em are frequently played without antes, allowing a player to fold his hand without placing a bet. The blind bets introduce a regular cost to take part in the game, thus inducing a player to enter pots in an attempt to compensate for that expense. It is possible to play without blinds. The minimum bet is then the lowest denomination chip in play, and tossing only one chip is considered a call. Anything higher than that is considered a raise. Poker without blinds is usually played with everyone posting an ante to receive cards. To raise is to increase the size of

he bet required to stay in the pot, forcing all subsequent players to call the new amount if they wish to remain in. 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 said to re-raise. Standard poker rules require that raises must be at least equal to the amount of the previous bet or raise. For example, if an opponent bets $5, a player may raise by another $5 (or more), but he may not raise by only $2. The primary purpose of the minimum raise rule is to avoid game delays caused by "nuisance" raises (small raises of large bets, such as an extra $1 over a current bet of $50, that have little effect on the action but take time as all others must call). This rule is 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 most casinos, fixed-limit and spread-limit games cap 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), since either player can call the last raise if they wish. Pot-limit and no-limit games do not have a limit on the number of raises. If, because of opening or raising, there is an amount bet that the player in-turn has not paid, the player must at least match that amount, or must fold; the player cannot pass or call a lesser amount (except where table stakes rules apply).