The Importance Of Poker Buttons & Blinds
Poker blinds and buttons date back to the earliest days of the games in the old saloons and other houses of ill repute that were the precursors for modern casinos. The markers became a simple and easy way to show everyone at the table whose turn it was to post the blinds, and deal.
What Are Poker Blinds?
Blinds are forced bets posted by players before the cards are dealt. Generally, the player to the left of the dealer is the small blind, and the next person in sequence is the big blind. There are usually only two, but some games can have upwards of three. The big blind is generally equal to the minimum bet, and the small blind half the big blind. Most starting stacks will be the equivalent of between 50 and 100 big blinds. The blinds ensure that there is always a prize on offer, because players can often fold without placing a bet and leave nothing in the middle.
Poker Blind Rules
When the cards are dealt, the player to the left of the big blind is first, they can bet, fold, raise or call the big blind. At the end of the round, they move to the left and the next player in sequence. The big blind becomes the small blind, and the small becomes the dealer. In cash games, blinds are usually at a fixed rate and will not change, while in a tournament, they increase at specific times decided by a timer.
An ante is a different type of forced bet which forces all players to put a set amount into the pot before play starts. Performing a similar purpose to blinds, the ante ensures there is always a prize on offer even if everyone folds. Antes can be used in conjunction with blinds, but unlike blinds, which are specific to certain players, an ante is paid by everyone.
What Is The Dealer Button?
The dealer button or buck is a marker used to indicate who is the dealer. If you are on the button, it means you are currently the dealer. It is typically a white disc. In most home games the person on the button actually deals the cards, while casinos have a dedicated dealer in the role.
In the early days of poker, in the old west saloons, players would frequently cheat and kill each other over the result of hands. Because the dealer has the greatest opportunity to cheat, it was decided each person at the table would have a turn as the dealer, and to keep track of whose turn it was, a marker was made and would move clockwise around the table. A knife was the standard marker, and because the handles were made from bucks’ horns, the term ‘pass the buck’ became common and is still used today.
Other Poker Buttons
The term poker buttons can also refer to a variety of plastic discs used to mark the status of players, such as:
All In – Used to indicate when a player has bet all their chips.
No Player – Shows when there is a free spot at a poker table.
Reserved – Mostly used in tournaments where registration is required to indicate when a seat is being saved for a specific person.
Missed Blind – Marks the spot of a player who has missed their turn to pay a blind.