A bet is a betting action a player can take in a betting round. To bet is to place an amount of chips into the pot. As a betting action, a player is only said to bet if they are the first player to place chips into the pot on this betting round. Subsequent players who place chips in the pot are either calling or raising. The player who bets is called the bettor, or sometimes the original bettor, to help distinguish between them and the subsequent raisers.
A bet must be of an amount that conforms with the betting structure of the game the player is playing.
Players who post blinds in games that use them are treated as though they had already bet that amount; subsequent players may call, fold, or raise, but may no longer bet. Players who bring-in a pot in games which use bring-ins are also treated as though they had bet, but as though they had bet a partial bet. Subsequent players may call, fold, or complete the bet, but may not actually raise it in the traditional sense.
How to bet
A player may bet by stating that they are betting, verbally, or by placing the correct amount of chips in the pot to bet. Stating that you bet is a binding declaration and cannot be revoked.
If a player places chips in the pot but the number of chips they have placed is not large enough to conform to a bet in the betting structure of the game, then house rules determine what occurs, though the most common ruling is:
- If the player places an amount of chips into the pot that is half what is needed to bet or less, it does not yet constitute a bet, and the player may still change their mind and withdraw the chips they have placed into the pot.
- If the player places an amount of chips into the pot that is more than half of what would be needed to bet, it does not yet constitute a bet, but they may not change their mind and retrieve their chips. The chips are now permamnently a part of the pot. The player will need to complete their bet before the betting round can resume, and that completion may only be to the minimum allowed bet in the betting structure. The player cannot choose to bet an amount larger than the minimum, since doing so would constitute a string bet, which is nearly always disallowed.
In a game with a betting structure where the amount of a bet is not fixed, the player who bets must do one of two things to indicate the amount of their bet:
- they may state the amount they wish to bet verbally, prior to putting any chips in the pot; or
- they may place the entire amount of chips they wish to bet into the pot with one single motion of their hands
A player may not silently place part of a bet into the pot, then return to their chipstack to get more chips to add to the amount being bet; once their hands leave the chips they've initially put into the pot, the chips they've placed there constitute the total amount of their bet. Any attempt to add additional chips to their bet is called a string bet and is not allowed -- however, in many house rules it is required that a player object to the string bet in order for it to be disallowed; the dealer often cannot reject the action on their own. (This rule gives an enormous advantage to the string bettor's opponents, since they can control the violator's betting to some degree.)
If a player states the amount of their bet prior to putting any chips into the pot, they may make as many trips to their chipstack as needed in order to get the correct number of chips into the pot.
There are no hand signals that mean "bet". The action can only be taken verbally, or by pushing chips into the pot.
Commonly-heard phrases using "bet"
Bet in the dark
- A player can claim to be betting in the dark if they bet prior to the cards being dealt which would normally start the betting round. See the "In the dark" article fo rmore details.
- Some betting structures have two different bet sizes, in which case the small one is called the small bet.