The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played by two or more people and involving betting. The game requires a combination of skill and luck, although over time the application of skills will virtually eliminate the role of chance in the game. Depending on the game rules, one or more players are forced to put an initial amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt. These forced bets are called the antes, blinds, or bring-ins.

During each betting interval (determined by the rules of the particular game), the player to the left of the player who made the last bet must either “call” that bet by putting into the pot a number of chips equal to or greater than the total contribution of the player before him, or he may raise the bet. A player who cannot call or raise the current bet must drop out of the betting interval.

When you hold a solid starting hand, such as pocket kings or queens, don’t be afraid to bet aggressively pre-flop. This will make the other players think twice about calling your raises and will help to eliminate some of the weak hands at your table.

Study the tells of your opponents and learn what they are trying to accomplish. This will allow you to read their behavior and make better decisions about what type of hands to play with them. Also, memorize the rules of poker so that you know what hands beat what (for example, a flush beats a straight). This will help you to determine how much of a bluff you need to make.