The Basics of Poker

Poker is the game of cards in which players place bets on their hand based on the value of their hand. It is played in many variations around the world and can be found in casinos, private homes, and on TV.


In most games of poker, each player is dealt a pair of cards face up (hole cards) and one card face down. After a betting interval, there is a showdown in which the hole cards are shown and the cards are evaluated.

The deal is interrupted and the dealer “burns” a card from the top of the deck (deals it facedown to the table). Next the first three community cards are dealt faceup to the table. The player to the left of the big blind is first to act in this round by folding, calling the big blind, or raising his bet; if no one raises his bet, the small blind (or player still in the hand) is next to act.

Bets are placed in what is called a pot, which is a pool of money shared among the players. Usually a small amount of money is put into the pot in the early rounds, and the pot increases in size with each round.


Every player has unconscious habits that reveal information about his hand, such as eye contact or facial expressions. In addition, there are physical tells, such as body language and gestures.