The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game in which players bet on the strength of their cards. The object is to minimize losses with bad hands and maximize wins with good ones.

Before the cards are dealt, each player must make a forced bet of one or more chips into the pot. The dealer then shuffles and cuts the deck, dealing each player two cards face up. Players then have the opportunity to place additional bets each turn. Each bet must either “call” (match the previous player’s amount by putting in chips) or “raise” (“put in more than the previous player”). A player may also “drop” (“fold”), meaning they put no more chips into the pot and discard their hand.

Each player’s hand is compared against those of the other players and the community cards (the “flop”). For example, a pair of kings off the deal might be decent, but they lose to a better hand 82% of the time on the flop. This is why it is important to know the other players and read them: conservative players fold early, aggressive players risk a lot of money, and can usually be bluffed out of raising on their strong hands.

A hand is a combination of five cards, including your personal two and the four community cards. Each of the four deuces is wild, so that can be used to create a full house (3 matching cards of one rank) or a flush (5 consecutive cards of the same suit). Three of a kind gives you three cards of the same rank, a straight is 5 cards in sequence but not in the same order, and a pair is two unmatched cards of one rank.