The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game with the twin elements of chance and skill. Luck – or the lack of it – is largely responsible for the winner of any given hand, although over time application of skill will eliminate luck’s variance completely. It is important to understand that there are some basic rules of the game before you play.

Players are dealt 2 cards and then a round of betting begins. The player to the left of the dealer makes a bet and each player must either call the bet (by putting into the pot the same number of chips as the preceding player) or raise it. If a player declines to do this, he drops (or folds) and is then no longer competing for the pot.

Once the bets are made a fourth card is dealt face up – this is known as the turn. There is another round of betting and the player with the best 5 card poker hand wins the pot.

Beginner poker players often miss the importance of their table position, which is one of the most important strategic tools to master. The first few spots to the left of the dealer are the worst positions to make bets from. This is because you cannot see what other players may have and to jump out of the gate with a bet when there is a good possibility that someone after you has a better hand is simply unwise.