The Basics of Poker


The game of poker is one that relies heavily on the situation and your opponent’s holdings. Many new players get tunnel vision and only think about their own hand. They don’t consider the flop, their opponent’s range of hands, or how strong their own hand is. Instead, they’re worried about a specific pair of cards and how they might make that pair. This is a mistake that even advanced players sometimes make.

To play a hand, you must first put a bet into the pot. Then you can either fold, call, or raise a bet. Saying “I call” means you want to place the same amount of money into the pot as the person in front of you did. Saying “I raise” means you want to increase the amount of money you are placing in the pot.

If you have a weak hand, you should usually just fold it. The best hands to play are strong ones, like a full house or a flush. A flush consists of 5 cards that are consecutive in rank, and all belong to the same suit. A full house consists of 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A pair consists of two cards of the same rank. The highest pair wins ties.

If you’re in EP, you should be tight and only open with strong hands. In MP, you can be a little looser but still play only the strongest hands. If you have a strong hand, raise to force weaker hands out of the pot. This will make your hand stronger in the long run.