The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager chips to determine the winner of each hand. While much of the game is chance, there is a significant amount of skill involved in betting and psychology.

At the beginning of a hand a player puts in one or more chips into the pot, called the “pot.” Each player to his left must either call that bet (putting in the same number of chips as the bet) or raise it. If a player declines to raise the bet, he discards his hand and is said to “drop.” That means he no longer competes for the pot.

After the first round of betting is complete the dealer deals three cards face up on the table that anyone can use (these are called community cards). The second betting round starts again and this time everyone gets a chance to check or raise their hands. After the third round is completed the dealer puts a fourth community card on the board that anyone can use, this is called the turn. The final betting round is known as the river and this time everyone gets a last chance to bet.

The winning poker hands are a pair, three of a kind, straight, or flush. The high card breaks ties. The goal is to make the highest ranked poker hand. To do this it is important to practice and watch other experienced players so that you can develop quick instincts.