A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a family of card games in which players wager on which hand is best according to that specific game’s rules. The games differ in deck configuration, number of cards in play, and number shared by all players, but they all have rules that involve one or more rounds of betting.

The first step is to place an ante, or buy-in, into the pot before the cards are dealt. After the ante has been placed, each player is dealt two face-down cards. They then must decide whether to bet, fold, or call the previous player’s bet.

Betting Rounds

During each betting round, the first player to make a bet is called ‘bet’, a player who matches the previous bettor’s bet is called ‘call’, and a player who increases their bet is called ‘raise’. In some variations, a player may also ‘check’, meaning they will stay in the hand without making any more bets.


A poker player’s strategy is to use their cards to improve their hand while playing against other players. They must be able to determine their opponent’s hand, their position in the hand and their strength of the hand, before making a decision on how to bet.

A player’s skill is more important than their hand when it comes to winning in poker. A good player will win consistently over the long term, but they will need to pick limits and game formats that work for them.

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