The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game in which players place chips into a pot in the center of the table. The player with the highest ranked five-card hand wins the pot. Players must ante something (amount varies by game, our games are typically a nickel) to get dealt cards and then can bet into the pot whenever it is their turn.

When a player wants to call a bet they say “call” or ‘I call’ and put in the same amount that the person to their left did. This way everyone has a fair chance to call a bet even if they don’t have a good hand.

Once the first betting round is complete the dealer puts a fourth community card on the board that anyone can use, this is called the flop. Again everyone gets a chance to bet/check/raise/fold and if they are still in the hand the dealer puts a fifth community card on the board that anyone can use, called the river.

It is important to pay attention to how other players play poker and try to read them. Some of the tells that are commonly discussed are not necessarily reliable, however betting patterns are very useful and can give you a lot of information about how your opponent is playing. It is also important to learn how to fold early and protect your weak hands. Observing experienced players and thinking about how you would react in their situation can help you develop quick instincts.