The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where the twin elements of chance and skill are both required to win. Over time, applying skill will virtually eliminate the variance of luck. This game is played by 2 or more players and the goal is to have a winning hand of 5 cards. The best hand wins the “pot” – all the bets made during that particular hand.

Each player has 2 personal cards and 5 community cards. The first round of betting starts with two mandatory bets called blinds put in by the players to the left of the dealer. After the flop, another round of betting begins and then 1 more card is revealed – this is known as the river. Players can also draw replacement cards at this point to change their hand.

The highest card in a player’s hand determines the winner of that particular hand. Other hands include: Straight – five cards of the same rank but not in sequence. Three of a kind – three cards of the same rank and a pair – two cards of the same rank (ex: two six’s). The player with the highest pair wins.

To be a good poker player, you must have fast instincts to bet and call correctly. You must also know your opponent’s tells – their unconscious habits that give away information about their hands and how they think about the game. These tells can be based on facial expressions, body language and even their posture. Practicing and watching experienced players will help you develop your own instincts.