A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


A card game of strategy, bluffing and misdirection, poker involves a combination of chance and skill. While luck will play a big part in most hands, over time the application of skill can eliminate much of this variance.

There are four betting rounds in a standard poker hand. Each round starts with one player betting an amount of chips into the pot in the center of the table (called the “pot”). The players to his or her left must either call the bet by placing their own chips into the pot, raise their own bet, or drop out (“fold”).

Once all the players have called the bet, the fourth card is dealt face up on the table and there is a final round of betting called the “river.” The highest hand wins the pot which includes all bets made at each of the earlier betting rounds.

Don’t Get Too Attached to Your Good Hands

When you have a strong poker hand like pocket kings or queens you should be aggressive pre-flop, but don’t get too attached to your cards because the flop may reveal something different and spoil your winning chances. Also, if the board has tons of straight or flush cards be very wary. It’s a bad idea to play a full house when the board has three of the same rank and two of another (like QQ-QJ). This is called trip fives and is easy for your opponents to identify and predict.