The Basics of Poker
Poker is a card game played with a standard deck of 52 cards (though some variant games use multiple packs or add jokers). The highest hand wins. Players bet in one round, with raising and re-raising allowed.
Betting is based on expected value and involves both the player’s own cards and the community cards on the table, which are visible to everyone. Each player places chips into the pot (representing money) voluntarily, if he believes it has positive expected value or wants to bluff other players for strategic reasons. The player who bets most frequently and correctly will win the most money over time.
You start a hand by placing an amount of money into the pot (the exact amount varies by game). This is called “calling” or “raising.” Those who call your raise place the same amount of chips in the pot as you do. You can also fold, which means you give up on the hand.
After the first betting round is complete, the dealer deals three additional community cards on the board that anyone can use in their hand. This is known as the flop. Then each remaining player must choose whether to call, raise or fold their cards.
Practice playing with friends or watch experienced players to develop quick instincts and good bluffing skills. You will want to play a lot of hands, ideally 6 or more an hour, to get to the level where you can play at a reasonable pace against semi-competent players.