The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place bets (usually chips) according to their expectation of the strength of their hand. It is a game of chance but also requires a great deal of skill, psychology and mathematics. The game starts with each player putting in some money (the ante). Once the antes are placed each person is dealt 2 cards. They can fold, call or raise. Saying fold means that you don’t want to put any more money into the pot, ‘call’ means you call the amount of the previous raise and ‘raise’ means you bet an additional amount.

The dealer then deals a third card face up on the table which is called the flop. This is the community card and everyone still in the hand gets a chance to bet again. After the flop betting round is over the dealer puts a fourth card on the board which anyone can use called the turn.

During this phase of the game you can continue to bet in order to make stronger hands by forcing weaker hands out. The aim is to get a high-ranking poker hand like a straight or flush. Generally speaking, the better your poker hand the more money you will win. Bluffing is also an important part of the game but beginners should work on their relative hand strength before attempting any bluffs. Observing experienced players and learning how they react to certain situations can help build good instincts for bluffing.