The Basics of Poker


A card game played with two or more people in which players wager money on the strength of their cards. The player with the best poker hand wins the pot. Poker has a great deal of luck involved, but it also requires good judgment and quick reflexes. The more you play and observe experienced players, the faster you will develop your own instincts.

A key to success in poker is deception. You need to fool your opponents into thinking you have a strong hand when you don’t, and vice versa. This is a major reason why it’s important to learn how to read your opponent’s tells (body movements, idiosyncrasies, betting behavior etc.).

There is a saying in poker: “Play the player, not the cards.” This means that your hand is usually only good or bad in relation to what other players are holding. For example, you may have a pair of kings, but if the other person is holding A-A your kings are likely losers 82% of the time.

Once the first round of betting is over (2 mandatory bets called blinds are put into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer), the dealer deals 3 more cards face up on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop. There is another round of betting that starts with the player to the left of the dealer. Once the flop is dealt, you should bet aggressively to force weak hands out and raise the value of your pot.