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What Does Call Mean? Bet, Check, Raise, Fold - Poker Terms Explained

Explaining beginner poker terms including what betting, checking, raising and folding means in a game of poker

This article is to help with the very basics of poker, specifically checking, opening, raising, re-raising and folding. If you know almost nothing about poker. The thought of playing has crossed your mind for whatever reason, but you don't know anything about the game. At first, the thought of raising may sound scary, as will knowing how to fold.

Before you hit the tables to play a bit of Texas hold'em or Omaha poker here PokerNews is on hand to run you through some of the key terminology.

What is Checking?

If you've ever asked yourself "What does check mean in poker?" then look no further. We're here to give you the definitive answer.

Checking is what one does if they wish to pass the action to the next player, but keep their cards. Checking gives one the option to raise, call, fold or even check again later on in the betting round. When one checks, they do not have to put anything into the pot unless they are playing in a game with a big blind and/or a small blind. If the action is checked to a player in the blinds, they have the option to check or raise.

The universal sign for checking in poker is to tap the table with one's hand.

What is Opening in Poker?

Opening is what one does when they are essentially starting the round of betting in a poker hand. When one opens, it has either been checked to them or they are the first person to act. Many new players say 'raise' mistakenly in this situation, where the standard should be to say 'bet' or 'open.' It can also be called an 'open-raise.'

Players that open will subsequently be faced with either a call, raise or folds from the other players at the table.

Andrew Teng's chipstack

What is Calling?

Calling is the mechanism used to call a bet. This is essentially matching the amount that has been put in by another player in the form of a bet or a raise. If nobody calls, the hand is over and the uncalled player wins the hand. If the hand makes it to the last round of betting, called the river, and Player A bets and Player B calls, then it goes to a showdown and the best hand wins.

What is Raising?

Raising is the action one takes when they want to increase the opening bet. After raising it up, one will have to deal with either a call, fold or re-raise from the other players in the hand. Raising is associated with either having a strong hand or trying to win the pot on the spot with a well-timed bluff.


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What is Re-Raising

Re-raising is exactly what it sounds like. It is the action of increasing a raise already put in by an opposing player. If there are three players in the hand and Player A opens, player B can raise that bet. At this point Player C or Player A can choose to re-raise when the betting action gets back on them. When faced with a re-raise, players have the options to call, fold or re-raise again.

What is Folding

Folding is the act of ending participation in a hand. No more bets are required to go into the pot by someone once they fold. Players can fold when it is their turn to act and they do not wish to continue. Most poker players do lots of folding preflop. The act of folding the cards themselves involves tossing them face down towards the dealer, who will put them into the muck (pile of folded cards).

What is calling in poker?

Calling is the mechanism used to call a bet. This is essentially matching the amount that has been put in by another player in the form of a bet or a raise.

What is checking in poker?

Checking is what one does if they wish to pass the action to the next player, but keep their cards. Checking gives one the option to raise, call, fold or even check again later on in the betting round.

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