The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance when no money is at risk, but when betting comes into play it becomes a lot more of a game of skill and psychology. In this article we will give a quick primer into how to play the game, but for more information you should pick up a book on the subject (or start playing with a group that knows how).

Before the cards are dealt the players must put an initial contribution, called the ante, into the pot to start the hand. Then when the betting comes around to you (this typically happens in a clockwise direction) you can choose to fold, call or raise.

Once the flop is dealt the remaining cards are placed face up on the table and everyone has the opportunity to check/call/raise or fold. The highest ranked hand wins the pot.

During the betting process it is important to pay attention to your opponents and their tendencies. This way you can adjust your own action to take advantage of their mistakes. Many newer players make the mistake of just focusing on their own hand and not taking into account their opponents actions. This can lead to big losses over time.

The best way to learn poker is by watching and observing experienced players. This will help you develop quick instincts and understand what makes a good player great. This is the fastest way to improve your game and become profitable.