The Poker Floorman

A Floorman's perspective of the poker world

Poker Betting Lines

Poker Betting Lines:  What do they mean?

More and more poker tables these days have a “betting line” (aka: racetrack, betting circle, action line or courtesy line) drawn on them.  It’s an oval drawn on the felt maybe 8-12 inches in from the rail or outer edge of the table.  It’s important for new poker players to realize what these betting lines mean since they can mean very different things in different poker rooms.

A typical “betting line”

In some poker rooms the betting line is a definite boundary that will have concrete consequences if chips or cards cross the line.  In these rooms, if you place chips or even hold chips out in the air beyond the betting line, every chip that crosses that line is committed to the pot.  Similarly, if your cards cross that line they are considered dead and your hand is gone.  There is no room for error here.  If you accidentally toss your cards beyond the line for any reason, you cannot get them back and your hand is dead.

In other poker rooms the line is merely a “courtesy line” where chips and folded cards are to be placed beyond the line so that dealers can reach them.  The line does not kill a hand or commit chips to the pot.  For example, a player could bring out a stack of 20 chips beyond the line and cut off 5 chips to make a bet, then bring the rest of his chips back.  Obviously this is very different from the “concrete” betting line where all 20 chips would be committed to the pot.  Also, if a player mistakenly thinks that all other players have folded and he tosses his cards forward, he can get those cards back if they aren’t buried in the muck first.  Again, this is very different from the “concrete” betting line where those cards would be considered dead.

So the moral of the story here is that new poker players or even experienced players playing in an unfamiliar poker room should ask the Floor Supervisor what the betting lines mean in that room to protect himself before sitting down in a game.

What about poker rooms that have no betting line drawn on the table at all.  How do you know when a bet has been made, a hand folded, etc.?

In many of these rooms the area beyond your hole cards is considered the “betting area” and any chips that go beyond your hole cards are in the pot, just as if they were brought out past an actual “betting  line” drawn on the table.  In other poker rooms, simply a “forward motion” with chips in your hand is considered a bet and is a judgment call.  The same goes for hole cards that are discarded.  Tossing them in a forward motion toward the dealer or the muck pile may be considered a fold.

It’s important to know the specific house rules of the poker room that you are playing in.  Don’t feel intimidated about asking questions about these things when you are in an unfamiliar poker room.  A good Poker Floorman will welcome these questions and be glad to answer them.  It’s better for him and you if he educates you about their specific house rules before you sit down to play than having to render a decision later that may not go your way because you didn’t know the house rule.

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February 20, 2011 - Posted by | For Beginner Poker Players, Going from Online to B&M Poker, Poker Rules | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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