Posted on

The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that has many variations, but all share some common rules. The goal of the game is to form a combination of five cards (hands) based on the card rankings and win the pot. The pot is the sum of all bets made during a round.

Each player contributes chips to the pot in turn, following a set of etiquette rules (see below). Players may call, raise or fold their hand. When a player calls, they must match the highest bet of the previous player. When a player raises, they increase the amount of money that has already been raised in the pot since the last player called. Players who fold their hands give up all the money they have bet that round.

Learning to read other players is crucial in poker. Watch for “tells” such as a fidgety hand, nervous smile or other body language. These can indicate a player’s strength or weakness. Also look out for other players making sudden, large moves, as these are often a sign that they have a strong hand.

Finally, never play your hands too conservatively, as this will lose you money. Be especially aggressive when your opponent is weak and you have a strong one. This will push more players out of the hand, as well as improve your odds of winning the pot.