The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance, but also an art form in which strategy can be employed to enhance one’s chances of winning. It can be played with a standard 52-card deck and requires knowledge of probability and game theory.

The game has many variants, varying in the number of cards dealt, number of rounds, and rules governing bluffing and betting. Most of the games share several common characteristics.

A ‘blind’ bet: The player who is not the dealer (or has the button) puts a bet called a blind into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is typically a mandatory bet, but can also be optional in some variants.

An ante: In some versions of poker, the player to the left of the dealer is required to put in an ante before they are dealt their cards. The ante is typically a fixed amount, but can be changed by the players in a particular round.

Hole cards: A player is usually dealt five cards from a deck. These cards are kept hidden from their opponents, but can be revealed in order to form a poker hand.

Betting chips: Chips are a common substitute for cash in poker. They are a simpler and easier way for players to keep track of their bets.

Players must always keep a few chips on the table. This makes it more difficult to cheat.

A player may make any of three turn actions: Check, Raise, and Fold. A Check is a move that lets the player leave the table without losing any money; a Raise is a move that allows the player to increase their bets; and a Fold is a move that the player makes to forfeit the round.