The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. Each player is dealt two cards that other players can’t see and then bets into the “pot” in the center of the table during each betting street. The highest hand wins the pot. Players may also win the pot by bluffing (beting that they have a good hand when they don’t). The value of a poker hand is in direct proportion to its mathematical frequency and the more unusual it is, the higher it ranks.

There are countless poker variations but most of them use the same basic rules. In each betting interval (called a street), one player, in turn, must either call the previous bet with the same amount of chips or raise it. If a player calls the previous bet, he must put in enough chips to match the amount of the last player’s bet or fold his cards.

Having position at the poker table is very important because it gives you “bluff equity,” which is simple, cheap and effective if you have a good poker strategy. The last player to act has the most information and therefore can make more accurate bets. Saying “raise” means that you want to place a bet of more than the amount raised by the person before you. If a player calls your raise, he must match it in order to stay in the hand. If you raise a hand, other players must either call or fold their cards.