The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which each player attempts to form the best hand possible. The rules vary by variant, but generally include an initial deal of cards and multiple betting rounds between each hand. The winner is the player who has the highest hand after the final betting round has been completed.

The game begins with each player making a small bet called an ante (varies by the rules of the particular game), which is decided by the table. The dealer then deals two cards to each player, which are kept secret from each other.

Players then have three options: fold, call or raise.

A “call” is a bet that equals the amount of the ante; a “raise” is a bet that exceeds the ante. The player to the left of the bettor may also “call” or “raise,” but only if they are willing to put into the pot at least as much money as the previous bettor.

When you’re new to poker, sticking to a basic range of hands is your best strategy. Pocket pairs, suited aces, broadway hands, and best suited connectors constitute about 25% of all starting hands, so they are a good place to start.

Once you become more comfortable with the game, bluffing becomes an important part of your strategy, but this is only recommended when playing opponents that are more reasonable. For example, you don’t want to bluff a fish because he/she is likely to be bleeding chips.

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