A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a game of betting and evaluating risk versus reward. It requires a deep understanding of hand rankings, basic rules, and position (cut-off, under the gun, etc.). It also demands an appreciation for the impact of player behavior on how you should play your own hands. In addition, it requires a strong grasp of basic betting concepts such as value bets and determining what amount of chips you should put into the pot to extract maximum value.

Maria recommends that students of poker—or people considering any new endeavor—should develop a comfort with taking risks. “Some of these risks will fail, but the lessons learned from them can be invaluable in helping you become a better decision-maker,” she says.

During each betting interval, one player—designated by the rules of the specific poker variant being played—has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet. Players may choose to call, raise, or fold as they choose. If a player is all in, the dealer must distribute the chips bet into both the main pot and any side pots that may have been created.

Once everyone has checked their cards, the dealer deals the flop. This involves placing the top three cards on the table face up for everyone to see. The players who did not fold then begin another betting round. At the end of the hand, the players who have a winning hand show their cards and the winner is declared.