The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting between players. The game is based on probability, psychology and game theory. Players place money into the pot voluntarily in order to gain positive expected value or bluff other players for various strategic reasons. While the outcome of any given hand significantly involves chance, long-run expectations for each player are determined by their actions chosen on the basis of probability and psychology.

In poker there are five basic poker hands: a pair, two pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, and a flush. The highest ranked hand wins the pot. Each player starts by anteing a small amount of money (the amount varies by game but our games typically start with a nickel). Once all players have antes the dealer puts three cards face up on the table that anyone can use, this is called the flop. Betting continues until everyone calls, raises or folds. Then the dealer puts a fifth card on the board that everyone can use, this is called the river.

As a general rule of thumb it is good to bet when you have a strong poker hand. By raising your bets you can inflate the size of the pot, and potentially chase off other players who are waiting for a better hand to beat yours. It is also important to play your position properly. When it is your turn to act you have more information than your opponents, and this can help you make more accurate value bets.