The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played with bets. While it may seem like a simple game at first glance, there is quite a bit of strategy and psychology involved in the betting portion of the game. It is one of the most popular games in casinos and bars today.

A basic deck of cards and a poker table is all that is needed to play. Generally, players purchase “chips” to represent their wagering. Each chip is worth a specific amount based on its color and value. A white chip is usually worth the minimum ante or bet; a red chip is typically worth five white chips, and a blue chip is normally worth 10 white chips. Depending on the size of the table, each player will receive anywhere from 20 to 50 chips at the start of a hand.

Each betting interval, or round, starts when a player puts chips into the pot equal to or greater than the previous player’s bet. The other players can either call the bet, raise it, or drop out of the hand entirely.

It is often said that poker is a game of situation, meaning that your hand’s strength or weakness is determined by the other players at the table. For example, if you have pocket kings and the flop comes A-8-5 your kings will lose 82% of the time to a player holding J-J. Therefore, you must pay close attention to the other players at the table and watch for tells (non-verbal cues that give away a player’s hand). You can then use your observational skills to improve your odds of winning.