The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played between players for high stakes. It began as a game of chance using the full 52-card English deck, but has expanded to include many variations.

The basic rules of poker are simple: Each player places a forced bet, called the ante or blind bet before being dealt cards. The dealer then shuffles and cuts the deck, and deals each player a hand. A player’s hand is made up of a combination of cards according to the rankings. The best hand wins the pot at the end of each betting round.

Most players will bet at least part of their own hand, often with a bluff, to try to win the pot. A bluff is an attempt to make the opponent think that you have a strong hand and thus they will fold, allowing you to win the pot.

Reading your opponents is a very important skill in poker. It is not as easy as some people may lead you to believe, and it requires careful observation of their eye movements, idiosyncrasies and betting behavior. Learn their tells and watch for chinks in their armor (such as a player that always calls large raises) to exploit them.

When it is your turn to act, you can check or raise the previous player’s bet. You can also check the hand of another player, meaning that you want to see if it has any value. When you say “call” or “I call,” you match the amount that the person to your right raised.