The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that can be played with two or more players. There are several variations of the game, but most involve betting and a showdown where the player with the best five-card hand wins. The game is typically played with a standard 52-card deck of English cards. Traditionally, only two cards are dealt to each player and a community card is placed face up on the table for all players to use (called the “flop”). Once the first betting round is complete the dealer deals another three cards that anyone can use – called the Turn. At this point it is important to analyze the strength of your poker hands and whether or not you want to continue to the Showdown.

If you have a strong hand, such as pocket kings or pocket queens, and the flop is A-8-5, you should probably raise. On the other hand, if your opponents are bluffing aggressively, or betting more than you can match, you might want to fold.

Be observant of your opponents, and learn to read their tells. Tells are the subtle movements or expressions that give away a player’s confidence or nervousness. Some common tells include shallow breathing, sighing, nostril flaring, blinking excessively, holding up one’s hand over the mouth or nose, shaking hands, and staring down at the table. You can also look for their betting patterns, such as when they check after a bluff or re-raise.