The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance, where players bet and raise money in order to win a pot. It involves many small decisions that each player must make, and each decision must have a positive expected value.

First, there is an initial forced bet called the ante. This amount is based on the stakes of the game and must be placed before the cards are dealt.

Next, the dealer deals the cards to the remaining players, one at a time, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer. A player can fold, check, or make a bet, depending on the hand.

The dealer then “burns” one card from the top of the deck and deals 3 community cards face up to the table (called the flop). A player can use these cards to build his or her 5-card hand.

After the flop, another round of betting takes place. A player can fold, call the big blind, or raise.

Play the Player, Not Your Cards

A lot of new players at a poker table throw caution to the wind, relying on their own luck rather than on the cards they are holding. This is an unfortunate mistake.

It’s much better to play the cards you are holding and consider how they compare with the hands that other players are holding. This allows you to maximize your chances of winning the pot without risking your own bankroll.