The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players compete to make the best five-card hand. There are many different forms of poker, but they all share some basic principles. Players begin the game by placing an ante, or bet, into the pot. They then receive their cards. A round of betting follows, and the player with the highest-ranking poker hand wins the pot.

Each player has a number of chips, typically called “whites,” that represent their stake in the pot. Whites are worth one unit, and each color has a specific value. For example, a red chip is worth five whites. A blue chip is worth ten whites, and so on. Players place their chips into the pot by saying, “I call,” “I raise,” or “I fold.” If a player calls, they must put at least as many chips into the pot as the player before them. If they do not, they are said to “drop” (fold) and can no longer compete for the pot.

It is important to remember that poker is a game of relative strength. Your hand is only good or bad in relation to what other players are holding. A pair of kings may look great on the deal but are likely to lose to a flopped ace 82% of the time. This is why it is important to learn how to read opponents’ hands and develop a range of possible hands that you can play against them.