The Basics of Poker


Poker is a popular card game played with chips. The player who makes the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot.

The basic rules of poker are based on probability, psychology, and game theory. It is not an exact science, but it can be mastered by applying the principles outlined here.

Using these principles, you can make better decisions about whether to raise or call and if to fold or show cards. You should also learn to read other players, and watch for “tells” that indicate that they are holding a strong hand.

How to Play

The first step in playing poker is to decide how much money you want to put into the pot. You must place a certain amount of money (called the “ante”) into the pot before the first round of betting begins.

Once the ante is in place, each player is dealt the number of cards necessary to complete his hand, unless specific rules for the variant dictate otherwise. After the initial deal, several betting rounds take place, with each round extending until all players have matched their ante and called or folded.

When the round ends, the players whose bets have not been called must pay an equal amount to the pot. In some poker variations, this amount is the same as the ante; in others, it is the difference between the ante and the bet. Some games allow an ante-less betting interval, where the bets are not counted as part of the total bets.