The Basics of Poker

Poker is a popular card game played in casinos. Although some people might think of it as gambling, poker is a skill-based sport, and in the long run the best players will always win.

There are many forms of poker; most of them involve rounds of betting with the aim of assembling the strongest 5-card hand. The player with the best hand wins the money bet in that round.

The Deal

The first deal is made by each active player to the dealer, who then distributes one card faceup to every player. This is followed by a betting interval, and then a showdown in which the cards are revealed.

Betting Intervals

In each betting interval, one player is designated to be the first bettor; other players in turn must place chips (representing their stake) into the pot. If the first bettor does not raise at least an established minimum, each player in turn may raise.

Bets are made in clockwise order, and continue until someone folds or calls. If no one calls, a new betting interval is started.

When betting is finished, the highest hand that has not folded wins the pot. This is a very important decision because the winning hand will typically make all or most of the next bets.


To develop quick instincts in poker, practice by playing with friends and watching experienced players play. The more you do this, the better you’ll get. You’ll also learn how to avoid the most common poker mistakes, and improve your odds of success.