The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where players have “chips” (money to bet with) and each player is dealt 2 cards. The goal is to make the best poker hand of 5 cards using your own two personal cards and the five community cards on the table. Then you bet and hope that your opponents fold before the showdown. If you bet and everyone else folds, you win the pot (all of the chips bet so far).

Each round of betting is initiated by 2 mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. These bets must be raised at least to the amount placed in the pot by the player before them. This is called matching method. Depending on the rules of your poker variant, you may also have to place an initial amount into the pot before betting begins called ante, bring-ins or blinds. This is required of all players to stay in the hand.

After all betting in the first two betting streets is complete, a fifth community card is revealed called the river. The remaining players must then decide whether to raise their bets or call them. If a player calls a raise and the original pot is not won, he can still leave the hand by forfeiting his stake to the player whose bet he called.

A good strategy for winning poker hands is to mix bluffing and calling for value. This will keep your opponents guessing and make them think twice about calling your bets.