The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting and requires some degree of skill. A good player should learn to play all of the different hands, know how to read their opponents and be able to make sound decisions. To learn how to do all of that, a player needs both a theory-based and practical understanding of the game.

Before the cards are dealt each player must put in a certain number of chips (representing money) into the pot. This is called the ante and is an integral part of the game. Once everyone has antes in the pot a betting round begins. Each player in turn must either call the bet, raise it or fold his hand. A player who puts in more than the previous player’s bet is raising.

On the first betting round, the dealer deals three additional cards face up on the table that anyone can use. These are called the flop. Betting continues until the players have a high enough hand to win the pot.

For example, if you have pocket kings and an ace hits the flop, it can spell disaster for your hand. That’s because you are a favorite to win a flush and your opponent will almost certainly be holding a straight.