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The Basics of Poker

The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players place bets on the outcome of a hand based on the principles of probability, psychology and game theory. With the exception of initial forced bets, money is placed into the pot voluntarily by players who either believe it has positive expected value or want to bluff other players for various strategic reasons.

The game starts with each player being dealt 2 hole cards. There is then a round of betting, initiated by the mandatory bets called blinds that are put into the pot by the two players to the left of the dealer.

After the betting is complete, 3 more cards are dealt face up. This is known as the flop. The player with the highest pair or better wins. If there is a tie, the high card breaks the tie.

To maximize your chances of winning, play a mix of hands. Too many players are so predictable that their opponents know exactly what they have and what they’re trying to bluff. If your opponents know what you have, you’ll never get paid off on your strong hands and your bluffs won’t ever work.

Ideally, you want to play your best hands on the button or in the seats immediately to the right of it. This gives you the ability to act last, after everyone else has had their turn, and it allows you to control the pot size. This will help reduce the session to session variance of your results and give you a greater edge over the long run.