The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players place chips or cash in a pot and then make bets on whether they have a winning hand. There are countless variants of the game, but most share certain characteristics.

You first have to ante something (the amount varies by game, our games are typically nickels). Then you get 2 cards dealt face down to each player. Once betting gets around to you, if you don’t have a good hand, you can either fold or raise your bet. If you raise, the other players will either call or fold.

In the third round of betting, a 4th community card is dealt. This is called the flop. Then there is one final round of betting before all cards are revealed in a showdown (called the river). If you have the best 5 card poker hand then you win the pot (all bets made at each stage plus your own)!

A great part of poker is reading your opponent. This doesn’t mean looking for subtle physical tells, but watching how your opponents play and reacting to it. The more you practice this, the better and faster you will become. Eventually, you will be able to tell if someone has a good or bad hand simply from their patterns of playing. For example, if a player checks often then they are probably holding weak cards. This will give you an advantage when trying to bluff against them.