The Basics of Poker


In poker, players make bets that represent money to compete for the pot, or total of all bets made on a hand. A player who has the best 5-card poker hand wins all the chips in the pot and becomes the winner of the round. Alternatively, a game may end in a draw where a player with a strong poker hand splits the winnings with any other players who also have a high poker hand.

Each round of poker begins with one or more betting intervals depending on the specific poker variant being played. In each betting interval the player to the left of the dealer makes a bet that other players can call, raise, or fold. Players reveal their hands at the conclusion of each betting phase.

During the first betting round the dealer puts three cards on the table that anyone can use, called the flop. Each player then gets a chance to bet, check, or fold.

After the flop betting round the dealer puts a final card on the table that everyone can use, called the river. Each player then has the opportunity to bet, check, or fold again.

If you have a strong poker hand, bet early in the hand to force weaker hands out of the game. A strong poker hand includes your two personal cards in your pocket plus the five community cards on the table. High cards break ties and can win you a flush, straight, or full house.