A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game in which players compete to make the best five-card hand. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot. The game has many different variants, but all of them follow the same basic rules.

The Deal

Every poker game starts with a deal, in which players are each dealt five cards face down and the first betting interval begins. During each betting interval, players can either “call” the bet (put in the same amount of chips as a preceding player); “raise” the bet; or “drop” the bet (“fold”) and discard their hand. If a player drops, they lose any chips that have put into the pot; otherwise, they are out of the betting until the next deal.

The Flop

The dealer puts a face-down card in the center of the table for each player to see. After the flop, everyone gets a chance to bet/check/raise/fold. On the river, the dealer places a fifth card on the board for everyone to use. If more than one player is still in the hand, the cards are exposed and the highest-ranking hand wins the pot.

Choosing the Right Hands

There are many different hands that can win in poker, and you won’t always know which ones will. But there are certain types of hands that tend to win more often than others.

These hands are called “strength” hands and include pocket kings and queens, flushes, straights, and sets. Strong hands are important because they can help you to bluff, but it’s also important not to get too attached to them. Especially if the board is full of flushes or straights, you should try to mix up your strong hands and keep them concealed so that other players don’t think you have a solid hand.

Managing Your Chips in the Pot

Poker is a game where players manage their own money, so it’s important to understand how to place your bets correctly. This can be tricky, but a knowledgeable dealer will be happy to show you the proper way.

Don’t Stack Too Big

The amount of chips you have is very important in poker, and a good rule of thumb is to play with a size that fits your bankroll. The bigger your bet sizing, the more risk you should take, but when playing short-stacked you should play with fewer speculative hands and prioritize high card strength.

Don’t Over-Bet

It’s a common mistake for new players to over-bet, but this is a bad move that can lose you a lot of money. The best strategy is to keep your bets small, but if you’re playing a good game and you think you have a great hand then you should raise up to the right amount, even if it’s a bit high.

Don’t Over-Bet

The last thing you want to do is over-bet your hand if you’re in the lead. This can be dangerous because it can give other players the impression that you’re stealing the pot, which is not the case.