The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players bet money against each other by placing it into a pot. This is a purely voluntary act on the part of the player, who chooses to place a bet because they believe it has positive expected value or are trying to bluff other players for various strategic reasons. The outcome of any particular hand involves a significant amount of chance, but over time, the numbers that appear in poker training videos and software output will begin to be ingrained into your brain automatically, and you’ll develop an intuition for things like frequencies and EV estimation.

The game begins when each player puts an ante or blind bet into the pot. The dealer then shuffles the cards, and deals them out to each player one at a time, beginning with the person on their left. Cards can be dealt either face up or down, depending on the variant of poker being played. After the deal, betting takes place in one or more rounds. At the end of each round, all bets are gathered into the pot.

When it’s your turn to bet, you can choose to make a bet equal to the last person’s bet (called “calling”) or raise that bet. You can also fold your hand (sliding it away face down) at any point in the hand.