The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played between two or more players. Each player is dealt seven cards and must make the best five-card hand possible to win the pot. There are many different forms of poker and each has its own rules. The game can be played with any number of players but the ideal number is 6, 7, or 8 people.

Each player contributes chips (representing money) into the pot by betting in turns. The first player to act puts in the small blind and then the player to his left puts in the big blind. These are mandatory bets called blinds and help prevent players from “blinding off” or throwing good hands away.

Once the betting has been completed for one deal the dealer deals three more cards face up on the table which everyone can use. This is called the flop.

After the flop is placed on the table the players again make their bets in turn, with the player in front of the button having the option to open up his bet or check. Saying “raise” adds more money to the bet and if someone else calls your raise you must decide whether to call or fold.

If you have a good opening hand such as pocket kings or queens you should bet strongly on the flop. A big bet will put pressure on your opponent to fold even if they have a decent hand like a flush or a straight.