The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players place chips into a pot and then compete for the winning hand. To start a hand, every player must contribute to the pot by placing an ante or blind bet. This forces all players to contribute and increases the chances of getting a good hand.

The first betting round in a hand takes place when the dealer puts down the ‘flop’ (three community cards). Each player has a chance to check, call or raise a bet. If nobody calls the bet the round ends and the bettor collects the pot without showing their hand. If more than one player remains in contention after the final betting round a showdown takes place where all hands are revealed and the highest ranking hand wins the pot.

A key part of poker is reading your opponents. A lot of this is based on subtle physical poker ‘tells’ but it is also a lot about patterns. If a player calls all the time it is likely they have crappy cards and you can bluff them out of the pot. Alternatively, if you have a strong hand and the flop comes you can make a bet and force weaker hands to fold. This is a great way to improve your chances of getting a good hand and can be very profitable.

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