Most games have a dedicated dealer who makes dealing easier. It’s common for players to trade off dealing duties during home poker games.

A button identifies the dedicated dealer if one exists. After each hand, that button then rotates one position clockwise. The button’s function is to indicate the starting point of each activity.

The first person to the left of the button always initiates action.

The person directly left of the button must post (pay) the tiny blind before dealing with any cards. He must post the large blind, which is the player on his left.

These “blinds” are compulsive wagers that offer players something to aim towards. Consider this: Players would never “blind off” if poker had no blinds. They would always have chips by consistently folding before the flop.

Players would only go all-in after receiving Aces from the dealer.

For instance, the player directly left of the button would need to post a $1 small blind if the game was $1-$2 No-Limit Hold’em. The subsequent player must put up the $2 big blind. These “blind bets” must be posted and are required. According to poker regulations, a player who rejects is eliminated from the game.

Cash games versus tournaments

Poker is played against other players in two formats: tournaments or cash games (sometimes known as ring games), and each has its own specific set of rules.

The fundamentals described above are the same, yet there are four key variations.

Blinds: In cash games, the blinds are never raised and are permanently fixed (e.g., $1–$2, $2–$5, etc.). While in tournaments, the blinds rise based on the blind structure every X minutes. They do this to compel activity and guarantee the tournament’s on-time conclusion.

Cash games are convenient since you can come and go whenever you want. Competitions are unique. The game continues (according to the blind structure) until a victor is declared.

Chips: Each chip in cash games has a denomination that matches its real-money value. Typically, chip denominations in tournaments have no real-money equivalent. For instance, you might get 10,000 units of chips in a $100 buy-in event.

Antes: Similar to blinds, antes are compulsory wagers demanded of players before the start of a hand. They frequently appear in tournaments, although they occasionally do so in cash games. Unlike the blinds, they do not add to the amount wagered during the opening round of betting (preflop).

Antes are only used to increase the pot size before the flop. Players are more motivated to compete for the middle dead money because of them.

Please be aware that to save time, “button” or “big blind” antes (one larger-sized ante taken from one player) are replacing conventional antes. This format is explicitly used in tournaments to quicken the pace of play.