The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played with a small number of cards that are dealt face down to each player. There are many different games of poker and the game can be played by any number of people from two to fourteen, although in most cases the ideal number is six or seven players. The goal of the game is to win the pot, which is the total amount of bets placed during a single deal. A player can win the pot by having the best poker hand or by raising a bet that no other player calls.

Before a hand is dealt each player must place an ante into the pot. Then each player gets five cards to use to form a poker hand. Players have two personal cards in their hand, called pocket cards, and five community cards that everyone can use to make a poker hand.

Each betting interval, or round, begins when one player, designated by the rules of the specific poker variant being played, makes a bet in chips (representing money) that is at least equal to the amount of money put in by the players before him. A player may choose to call that bet, raise it, or drop out of the betting.

A common mistake made by new players is to be too passive when holding a strong draw. It is important to be more aggressive with your draws in order to either get your opponent to fold to your semi-bluff, or to make your poker hand by the river.