The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which the players compete for money. The game can be played at home, in a poker club, or at a casino.

The Basics: Getting Started

In the beginning of a hand, each player is required to contribute a small bet called an ante. This ante gives the pot a value right off the bat and provides each player with an incentive to participate in the hand.

The Deal

After the initial bet, each player is dealt two cards face down and is obligated to keep them secret from the other players. During the first betting interval, players may fold, check, or raise their bets, depending on the rules of the variant being played.

The flop

The dealer “burns” one card from the top of the deck, and then deals the first three community cards (the “flop”) to all players. The small blind (the player to the left of the big blind) acts first in this and every succeeding round by folding, checking, or making a bet.

Raise and Fold

In each betting interval, players may raise their bets by adding to the pot. This is the most common method of action, and can result in significant losses or winnings for some players.

Despite the odds, good poker players can win in the long run. However, luck plays a large part in the outcome of any single hand. Therefore, it is important to develop a competitive skill set that can maximize your chances of winning.