The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players wager chips (representing money) on the strength of their hand. The winner claims the “pot,” or all of the bets placed during a single round of play. The game is played with two to seven players. It can be played with one or more decks of cards and can use wild cards.

Players begin each hand by placing an initial amount of money into the pot, which is a shared pool for betting on hands. This initial amount is called the ante or blinds. Depending on the rules of the game, one player (or more than one) will have the privilege or obligation to make the first bet during each betting interval.

Once each player has their two hole cards, a round of betting begins. Each player must place a bet equal to or greater than the total contribution of the person who was before them. These bets are called chips and they are placed into the pot before the cards are dealt.

After the flop, each player must make a decision about their hand. They can choose to fold if they don’t have a strong enough hand or they can bet in order to force weaker hands to call and increase the value of their own.

The key to success in poker is learning how to read other players’ reactions to your actions. Practice playing and watching experienced players to build quick instincts. Pay special attention to their tells, such as fidgeting with chips or a ring.