The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) on the highest-ranking hand. It is believed to have evolved from the 17th-century French game poque and the German pochen. It has become a global game with many variations.

Each player is dealt 2 cards face down and 1 card face up, known as their hole cards. There are then one or more betting intervals depending on the specific poker variant being played. The first player to act may either call the bet (putting into the pot the same amount as the bet made by the player before him) or raise it (putting in more than the minimum called bet). A player who believes his chances of winning are small can “drop” (refuse to match a bet and discard his cards), losing any chips that have already been put into the pot.

During each betting interval, players must discard and draw replacement cards from the bottom of the deck for their hands. Depending on the rules of a particular game, the dealer may also have to shuffle and cut the deck once or more.

The most important aspect of Poker is developing good instincts, not memorizing and applying complicated systems. In order to build these instincts, you must observe and analyze the play of experienced players. By observing how these players react to the situations that arise, you can start to understand the reasons behind their decisions.