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Preflop is the first betting round. It begins after each player has been dealt their initial two cards. Players can either call to match the big blind, raise to increase the size of the bet, or fold their hand.


Each player has three betting actions preflop:

  • Fold – The player does not put any additional money into the pot, but they surrender their hand.
  • Call – The player matches the amount of the previous bet. If no player has raised before the player has acted, then the player matches the amount of the big blind.
  • Raise – The player increases the bet. The raise size must be equal to the size of the big blind or the last raise.

The only alternative action a player can make is checking when they are in the big blind and no raise was made preflop. The preflop betting round is completed when a player checks in the big blind. The two other ways for the preflop betting round to end are; when there is only one player remaining in the hand, or when the amount of the last bet is matched by all remaining players.

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  1. Position


    Before the game begins, you must decide who starts as the button. The button is a rotating position in poker, often denoted by a small plastic chip that moves one player to the left after every hand. In a home game, you may decide this amongst yourselves, but in a casino environment, the dealer will deal each player a card face up, and the player with the highest card is the button. In the event of a tie, the suits are counted, with spades being the best, then hearts, then diamonds, then clubs.

    Once the button has been decided, the two players to the left of the button must post the small and big blind; the small blind being the player directly to the left of the button and the big blind being the player two to the left. These are forced bets that happen at the start of every hand before the cards are dealt as a way to create action. The size of the blinds will depend on the stakes you are playing and the format of the game. In some games, all players are also required to post an ante, a number of chips equal to a small portion of the big blind. This is common in poker tournaments.

    After the blinds and antes have been posted, the cards are dealt. Each player is dealt one card at a time face down, starting the player in the small blind (the direct left of the button). The cards are dealt clockwise around the table until each player has two cards. Once every player has two cards, the betting round can begin.

    player checking his poker hand with chips to the left and right of him
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