The Basics of Poker


In poker the players place chips (representing money, for which the game is almost invariably played) into a central pot in one or more betting rounds. The rules of the particular game determine how these betting rounds are structured and what kind of strategy can be employed, but in general one can expect to lose if not careful. Each player acts in turn, betting at least the amount placed in the pot by the player before him. Players may also bluff other players, and this element of the game often involves considerable psychology and probability theory.

The first round of betting is called the Preflop or Flop. The dealer shuffles the cards, and then deals them to each player, starting with the player on his left. The players then look at their cards and decide whether to raise or fold.

After the first betting round has completed the dealer puts down three community cards that everyone can use. This is called the flop. Then the second betting round takes place.

It’s important to remember that a poker hand is made up of your own two cards and the five community cards on the board. You can’t conceal some hands, such as trip fives which are easy for other players to see. This is why it’s good to practice and observe other experienced players to learn their tendencies. This will help you develop quick instincts and improve your chances of winning.