The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of cards, strategy and chance. It’s about reading your opponents and changing your strategy based on what you see others doing. It’s also about understanding how your own cards fit into the overall picture. But most of all, it’s about having fun.

Depending on the game rules, some players may be required to place an initial amount into the pot before they are dealt their cards. This is called an ante, blind or bring-in.

When it is your turn to act, you can say “call” or “I call” to indicate that you want to match the last bet made by the player to your left. If you don’t want to call, you can fold your hand.

After all the bets are placed, the dealer deals the cards and begins the showdown. The best five-card poker hand wins the pot.

Some poker games have additional betting rounds. During these rounds the dealer places three cards on the table that everyone can use, called the flop. Then another card is dealt face up, which is called the turn. Finally, the fifth and final community card is dealt face up, which is called a river.

While some people believe that luck plays a larger role in poker than skill, there is much more to the game than meets the eye. Learning how to read your opponents’ moves, making strategic adjustments and applying pressure in a way that makes them think about their own cards is what separates beginners from pros.