The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets into a pot based on expected value and other strategic considerations. While the outcome of any given hand may depend on chance, long-run expectations are determined by a player’s actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology, and game theory.

Depending on the rules, some players are required to place an initial bet into the pot before their cards are dealt. These bets are known as antes, blinds, and bring-ins. They can replace or be in addition to the flop bet. Once everyone has a hand, the dealer deals the next card face up on the board called the flop. Then everyone has the opportunity to call bets again or fold.

After betting is complete the dealer deals a fourth card on the board which all players can use, called the turn. Then there is another round of betting and the dealer places a fifth card on the table that all players can use, called the river.

As a beginner you should focus on relative hand strength before getting into bluffing. It will take some time before you start to gain confidence in deciding whether your hand is strong enough to bet on or not.

When you think your hand is good enough to bet on, say “raise” and the other players can choose to either call your new bet or fold. Be careful not to over-bluff because you might just give your opponent the right information they need to call your bluff.