The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players bet against each other based on the value of their poker hand. It is a popular gambling game and can be played socially for pennies or matchsticks or professionally for thousands of dollars.

The basic rules of poker are based on probability, psychology and game theory. Players bet money against one another and may fold, check or raise during betting rounds.

First, each player must place an ante, usually a small amount. After all players have placed their ante, the dealer deals two cards to each player.

In most variants, the dealer shuffles and deals the cards to the players one at a time, beginning with the player on the left. The deal is interrupted for a betting interval and the first of several rounds begins.

Each player receives one card facedown (his hole card), and one card faceup. The player who has the highest-ranking poker combination in his faceup cards bets first. If two or more players have the same combination, the “first” bettor (nearest the dealer’s left) bets first.

Each player then calls, raises or folds depending on what their hand holds. It is important to read the tells of other players. Eye movements, idiosyncrasies and hand gestures can help determine whether a player is bluffing or not. It is also important to be able to read the flop and know when to bet, call or raise.