The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting among players. Whether played in a glitzy casino or at a friend’s home, it requires skill and strategy to win. The goal is to maximize your winnings with strong hands and minimize losses with weak ones. This is achieved through careful reading of opponents, and the ability to make big bluffs when necessary.

A poker game begins with two cards being dealt to each player face down. A round of betting then takes place based on the assumption that each player has a good hand. Players may call a bet, raise it, or fold their cards. Those that fold discard their initial two cards and cannot participate in the next round of betting.

After the betting round is complete the dealer puts three additional cards on the table that anyone can use. These are known as the flop. Once again everyone gets a chance to bet/check/raise/fold.

At the end of a poker game, the players usually establish a “kitty.” The kitty is built up by each player contributing a low-denomination chip to any pot in which there has been more than one raise. When the poker game ends any chips in the kitty are distributed to those still in the game.

To play poker you need a large, round table and chairs for each player. You also need a deck of cards and chips. A good way to learn to play is to join a group of friends who already know how to play.