The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players make wagers (called bets) on the outcome of a hand. The game has several variants, but in all of them the players place their bets into a central pot. The players’ hands are revealed at the end of the betting round and the player with the best 5 cards wins.

At the start of a game the players buy in for a certain amount of chips. Each chip has a different value. For example a white chip is worth one unit, or whatever the minimum ante or blind bet is; a red chip is worth five units; and a blue chip is worth 10 units. The players then play a number of betting rounds. Each round a number of cards are dealt and placed face up on the table. The first of these is called the flop.

After the flop the dealer deals another three cards that are community cards, which any player can use. The second of these is called the turn. Finally the last of these, the river, is dealt. Then the betting continues with each player having the option to call, raise or fold their cards.

When you have a good starting hand, like a pair of Kings or Queens, bet aggressively. Too many novices check and call weakly with strong hands, thinking they can be bluffed or that other players will be too afraid to go head-to-head against them. This is bad strategy because your opponents will quickly learn what you have and you’ll never get paid off on your big hands or make money bluffing.