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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


The game of poker requires a combination of skill, luck, psychology and strategy. It’s a card game where players make bets on the strength of their hand and the chances of others calling them. While the outcome of any single hand involves chance, over time a player’s expected return on investment is determined by actions that are chosen on the basis of probability and game theory.

Before cards are dealt, a player designated by the rules of the game (usually the person to the left of the button) must post a small blind and a big blind bet. This person is called the dealer. After the bets are made, each player receives two personal cards and five community cards are revealed. After the flop comes, there are another round of betting and the player with the best 5 card poker hand wins.

In some poker games, a special fund called a kitty is established to pay for new decks of cards and other expenses like food and drinks. Players are usually required to “cut” a low-denomination chip into the pot when raising more than one bet, and chips left in the kitty after a game ends are forfeited by that player.

A strong poker player is able to read other players and take advantage of their tendencies at the table. While some of these poker reads come from subtle physical poker tells, such as scratching your nose or playing nervously with your chips, the majority of them come from patterns. For example, a player who folds early is likely only playing weak hands. Conversely, a player who bets often may have a good hand.