Learn the Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that can be played in many different variations. It is a great way to meet new friends and enjoy a social activity, but it’s important to know the rules before you play.

Before the cards are dealt, players must make an initial contribution, called an “ante.” Depending on the game, this is worth one or more chips. After the cards are dealt, a betting interval starts, in which players can put in chips or call.

Betting is a key part of poker, as it can make the difference between winning and losing. The goal is to try to minimise losses with bad hands and maximise profits with good ones.

Getting Started

Before you start playing, find someone who is familiar with the rules and can explain them to you. You can also ask your friends or family if they have a regular home game that you can attend. This will give you the opportunity to practice and learn from more experienced players.

Developing Quick Instincts

Since every poker game is different, it’s best to develop your own instincts. This will help you get better faster and easier than trying to memorize complicated systems. You can do this by practicing and watching others play, or by taking a poker training video.

The Deal:

When the cards are dealt, each player receives a hand of five face-down cards. This is usually the first of several betting rounds, and may be followed by a showdown, in which all players must show their cards.

The Royal Flush:

The highest-ranking standard poker hand is the royal flush, which contains a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit (clubs, diamonds, hearts or spades). This hand can only be beaten by another straight flush of the same suit.

Don’t get too attached to good hands:

A pocket king or queen is a strong hand, but it can be ruined by an ace on the flop. Likewise, a straight or flush can be killed by an ace on the turn or river.

Learning to Bet and Fold:

To win at poker, you need to be able to bet and fold correctly. This is an essential skill that can be learned in a variety of ways, and it’s a necessary component to any strategy.

When you’re ready to start betting, choose a player that is to your left from the dealer. This will give you the most chances to pick up cards on the flop and turn.

Always check and fold if you don’t have a good hand, and raise if you do have a good hand. This will force weaker hands out of the pot and increase the odds of winning.


If you think your opponent has a good hand, you can bet a lot of chips and force them to fold. This can be a great way to get more money into the pot, but you’ll need to watch your bets carefully and avoid bluffing too much.