The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players place an initial amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt. This is called the ante and can be paid in either a small or big blind. Depending on the rules of the game, the player to the left of the button is responsible for placing these forced bets.

Once everyone has their 2 hole cards, there is a round of betting. This is usually initiated by 2 mandatory bets called blinds put into the pot by the players to the left of the button. These are meant to encourage players to play and help build the pot size.

A 3rd card is then dealt face up, this is known as the flop. Again there is a round of betting and it is typically the player in the small blind who starts it.

After the flop, 1 more card is dealt face up which is known as the turn. There is another round of betting and it usually starts with the player in the big blind.

Once the final card is dealt (the river) there is a final round of betting and then all hands are revealed. The highest ranked hand wins the pot which is all the bets made on that particular round. If no one has a high hand then the dealer wins the pot. It’s important to understand that although poker is a game of chance, over time skill can eliminate much of the variance that luck creates.