Poker Basics – How to Read Your Opponent’s Cards

In poker, players have to be able to look beyond their own cards and think about what their opponents might have. This is called “reading other players.” It’s the main difference between a good poker player and a beginner. You can’t control your opponent’s cards, but you can make them fold by assessing the situation and applying pressure.

When playing poker, each player buys in for a certain number of chips. A white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet; a red one is worth five whites; and a blue (or other color) chip is worth 20 or 25 whites. Each time a player makes a bet, the players to his left must either “call” that amount of money by placing that number of chips into the pot or raise it. When a player calls, he must also place his own chips into the pot to match or exceed the amount of the previous raise.

A hand is determined by comparing the rank of the cards in each individual card combination. If two hands are identical in terms of rank (such as four of a kind), the higher rank breaks the tie.

Once the betting ends and the final hand has been revealed, each player must reveal his cards to determine a winner. In some games, the winner may choose to “Muck” his hand by putting it into the discard pile without showing anyone. This helps keep the other players from learning his playing style and gaining an unfair advantage.