Rules to Raising a Bet & Spotting Anglers


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raise or call

Raising in poker is one of the most crucial aspects of the game. Without raising, it becomes literally impossible to win because you’re depending on your opponents to raise. But what if you’re in a game where the rules aren’t so clear, such as a home poker game?

Players in home poker games tend to bend the rules much more often than they would in a casino environment. This is mainly due to the friendly nature of the game and the lack of regulation surrounding these home or underground poker games. Players can “get away” with a lot more and come from a “let’s not be so serious about the rules” position. While this is typically okay in most games, there are times when the rules are intentionally being bent by anglers in order to extract the maximum value from a hand such as in the following example.

Roger is playing a fixed limit $5/$10 heads-up Texas Holdem game with Steve. It’s Roger’s turn to act first. Roger reaches to his chips and says “just a minute” and tosses in $5 in $1 denomination chips into the pot. Steve then tells the dealer that he will check, but Roger stops the dealer from dealing the flop and says “no, I said just a minute. Can’t you see that I am going to raise?” Steve objects and said that Roger has already put the chips in and has only called.

So what is the proper ruling when a player makes a non-actionable statement?

The ruling here is that the Roger definitely made a call. It is his responsibility to announce his action with an actionable word or phrase. In Las Vegas, “just a minute,” “hold on,” or similar phrases are not legally binding to any sort of action. There are only several binding statements, and they are “fold,” “check,” “raise,” “call,” and “all-in.” Players may also be verbally binded by making statements such as “if you raise, I am going all-in” in certain establishments.

Typical poker rules state that you need to make one of the following actions to indicate that you are raising:

  1. Announce “Raise” before moving any chips into the pot.
  2. Make one motion with the amount in your hand that you wish to raise (in no-limit and pot-limit).
  3. Announce “Raise,” match the call amount, then put in the additional raise amount afterwards in a single motion.
  4. Announce “Raise” plus announce the amount you’re raising to. You may now make several motions to put that specific amount into the pot, or a larger chip. You are binded only to the amount that you’ve specified.

I hope that clears up the rules to raising a bet in poker. Watch out for people that are sneaky with their words and always ask for clarification before making your action. If you’ve made an all-in bet and your opponent says “okay, let’s go” and flips his hand over, do not flip your hand over. He could easily follow up with “I meant lets go on to the next hand, I folded,” after seeing that he is beat.

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