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The Basics of Poker


Whether you are trying to win the big poker tournament or just bluff your way around a few friends, there is a lot more to poker than just knowing the rules and the best hand rankings. It’s important to understand the lingo of poker and be able to talk the talk, so that everyone at the table has a clear understanding of what you mean.

Before each hand begins, players must place an amount of money in the pot called an ante. The player to the left must either “call” (put in the same amount of money as the previous player) or raise. A player who raises puts in more than the other players and can continue raising for as long as they want to. The person with the highest hand wins the pot.

Poker has a way of making even the most experienced players look absolutely silly at times, but don’t let it get you down. Just keep practicing and watching the games that other people play to develop quick instincts that will help you be a better player.

Let’s say you deal yourself a pair of kings off the flop and the betting starts. Alex ‘checks’, or folds, and Charley calls (puts a dime in the pot). Dennis raises a dime, or raises. You have a good pair of kings, but if you call and the board has tons of flush cards or straights it could spell disaster.