The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager chips that they have the best hand. The cards are dealt one at a time, either face up or face down depending on the game. Each player has the option to call, raise or drop his or her cards. The highest poker hand wins the pot. Players may also bluff in order to win the pot by convincing other players that they have a superior hand.

The game is played with chips, typically white and red, and each player buys in for a certain amount. A white chip is worth one unit, or the minimum ante; a red chip is worth five whites, and so on. In addition, players often use colored markers to designate their bets.

Each betting interval, or round, begins when the player to the left of the dealer makes a bet of one or more chips. Each player to his or her left must then either “call” that bet by putting into the pot the same number of chips as the player who made the bet, or raise it by adding more chips. If a player declines to put any chips into the pot, or drops, he or she discards his or her cards and is out of the game.

Poker strategy involves minimizing losses with weak hands and maximizing winnings with strong ones. It is important to study your opponents, and try out new strategies in practice sessions with friends or online. Many successful poker players also read about the game and consult with experts to improve their skills.