The Basics of Poker


A card game in which players wager against each other based on the cards they have and their knowledge of the game’s rules and strategy. There are countless variations of poker, but they all have some common elements.

In a standard poker hand, a player receives five cards that are dealt face up in front of him. Each card has a rank in terms of its odds (probability), and the higher the rank, the more likely it is to win. A Royal Flush is made of a Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit; a Straight is five cards in numerical order; a Three of a Kind is three matching cards; and a Pair is two matching cards. Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a Full House, for example).

Each player in turn must put into the pot the number of chips that is at least equal to the amount placed in it by the previous player (this is known as calling). A bet can also be “raised,” which means a player adds more money to the pot and other players may call or fold.

Table position is one of the most important aspects to consider when playing poker, as your positioning will determine how you play the hand. For example, players in EP (first position to the left of the dealer) should often make very few bets and only with strong hands. Likewise, MP players should raise their hands more frequently and only call with strong ones.