The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game in which players place wagers against one another. The value of a hand is determined in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency, and the higher the hand ranks the more rare it is. Players may also bluff, betting that they have the best hand while putting other players in the position of making a costly call.

Each player is dealt two cards face down, and the community cards are revealed on the table during a betting round. There may be several betting intervals, and the player with the highest hand wins. Depending on the rules of the game, it is sometimes possible to exchange cards in a hand during or after a betting round, but this is not common in professional games.

During the first betting interval of a hand each player must make an ante or blind bet, often at least an established minimum amount. Then, the dealer shuffles the cards, and the player to the immediate right of the button cuts. The dealer then deals each active player a complete hand, followed by the first of several betting intervals.

You deal yourself a pair of kings off the deal (not great, but not bad). Then the betting starts. Alex ‘checks’ (he doesn’t want to raise or fold). Charley calls, and Dennis raises a dime (putting twenty cents into the pot). You think he has a good hand but aren’t sure. He stares at you, and you know he’s probably bluffing.