The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet into a central pot and try to make the best hand possible. A winning hand depends on luck, but also on skill and psychology.

Rules and Strategy

Before the cards are dealt, each player is required to make an initial contribution to the pot, called an ante. This ante is usually $1, but can be different in each game.

The first player to act in a betting round is called the first bettor; this must be at least the ante amount or a higher amount (except where table stakes rules apply). If a player bets exactly the amount of the previous bettor, that is called a call; if a player bet more than the last bettor, it is a raise.

To raise is to add more money to the pot; a raise is matched by any other player who bets or calls the same amount.

Bluffing is a primary feature of poker, and can be used to trick opponents into thinking you have a better hand than you really do. It is especially useful in games with weaker holdings, as it forces them to fold or pay more to stay in the pot.

Poker is a game of chance, but with a little bit of skill you can become very good at it. Play a balanced style, mix up your hands and keep your opponents guessing. You’ll increase your odds of winning.