What is ‘Rotation’?
In poker, ‘rotation’ refers to the movement of turns and actions around the board, usually in relation to the dealer and blind buttons. Players might also describe the movement from smaller games up to the main one as ‘rotation’. Turns in the game take place in rotation as well – usually clockwise from the dealer unless otherwise specified at the start of the game.
If a poker play talks about ‘rotation’, they are referring to the direction of play (usually clockwise) during a game. Rotation can apply to the players’ positions or seats, to the betting actions or to the turns taken in the game. Responsibility for blinds, or advantage play through position, gets affected by the rotation of the game. In most poker games, there is one player identified as the dealer, and play passes from their left in a clockwise direction. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. After each hand is played, there is a ‘rotation’ of the table’s positions. The dealer button moves to the left, and the other positions move as a consequence.
These positions are important because they determine certain actions. For example, some games have mandatory bets called ‘blinds‘ which are posted by one or two of the players. The blinds are forced upon the players to the left of the dealer, and they must bet before seeing any cards. However, the position of the blinds usually rotates with each hand, so every player takes their turn in betting to see the cards. Rotation also ensures that no player is retaining a specific advantage through their seat, and it keeps play moving by determining who can bet when. In some games, players do draw for seats and there is no rotation of position – common in fast-paced knockout games.