Players in a poker game act in turn, in clockwise rotation. When it is a player's turn to act, the first verbal declaration or action he takes binds him to his choice of action; this rule prevents a player from changing his action after seeing how other players react to his initial action.
The act of making the first voluntary bet in a betting round is called opening the round. On the first betting round, it is also called opening the pot (in variants where blind bets are common, the blind bets "open" and other players call and/or raise the "big blind" bet). Some poker variations have special rules about opening a round that may not apply to other bets. For example, a game may have a betting structure that specifies different allowable amounts for opening than for other bets, or may require a player to hold certain cards to open.
To cal l is to match a bet or a raise. A betting round ends when all active players have bet an equal amount or no opponents call a player's bet or raise. If no opponents call a player's bet or raise, the player wins the pot.
The second and subsequent calls of a particular bet amount are sometimes called overcalls . A player calling a raise before he or she has invested money in the pot in that round is cold calling . For example, if in a betting round, Alice bets, Bob raises, and Carol calls, Carol "calls two bets cold". A player calling instead of raising with a strong hand is smooth calling , a form of slow play.
Calling when a player thinks he does not have the best hand is called a crying call.
In public card rooms and casinos where verbal declarations are binding, the word "call" is such a declaration. In public cardrooms, the practice of saying "I call, and raise $100" is considered a string raise and is not allowed. Saying "I call" commits you to the action of calling, and only calling.
If no one has yet opened the betting round, a player may check , which is equivalent to calling the current bet of zero. When checking, a player declines making a bet; indicating that he does not choose to open, but that he wishes to keep his cards and retain the right to call or raise later in the same round if an opponent opens. In games played with blinds, players may not check on the opening round because they must either match (or raise) the big blind or fold. A player with a live big blind who chooses not to exercise his right to raise is said to check his option . If all players check, the betting round is over. A common way to signify checking is to tap the table with a fist or an open hand.
To raise is to increase the size of the bet required to stay in the pot, forcing all subsequent players to call the new amount. 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.After a player raises an amount, the remaining players in the hand must match the raise or fold.
To fold is to discard one's hand and forfeit interest in the current pot. Folding may be indicated verbally or by discarding one's hand face down into the pile of other discards called the muck . It is a serious breach of etiquette to fold out of turn , that is, when it is not the folding player's turn to act, because this can harm other players.. if a player folds out of turn in a stud poker game, the player in turn may demand that his upcards remain exposed until he has completed his turn. When folding, concealed cards should not be exposed unless no further betting is possible in the hand. A player is never required to expose his concealed cards when folding prior to the showdown.