Basic Poker Strategy

Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The goal of the game is to form the best possible hand based on the rank of the cards, and then win the pot at the end of the betting round. The pot is the aggregate of all bets placed by all players at the table.

The game begins when a player on the left of the dealer button takes a pack of cards. The cards are dealt in rotation, face up, until a jack appears. The player receiving the jack becomes the first dealer. The turn to deal and the turn to bet passes clockwise from player to player. When a player has the best hand, they may raise to add more money to the pot.

To increase your chances of winning, bet aggressively with your strong hands. When you make a weaker hand, check and fold. Narrowing your range of starting hands by opening the pot is a crucial part of basic poker strategy. When an opponent raises, you should look to re-raise rather than calling.

Observe your opponents carefully, and learn to read their tells. Typical tells include: shallow breathing, sighing, flaring nostrils, blinking excessively and hand gestures. A hand over the mouth is usually to conceal a smile, and shaky hands are often signs of nervousness. If a player stares you down, it’s likely they have a strong poker hand.