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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting between players and can be played with 2 to 14 people. The goal is to form the best poker hand based on card rankings and win the pot, which is the sum of all bets made during the round. The game is often bluffing-based and the player who makes the most accurate reads on other players’ behavior will be in the best position to win.

Once all players have received their two hole cards, there is a round of betting (starting with the player to the left of the dealer). Each player must put in a mandatory bet amount into the pot before he can call the next bet. The player who calls must place chips or cash into the pot equal to the bet placed by the player before him.

You stare at your opponent as he goes all in, trying to decipher his tell. He rubs his forehead, scratches his head or wiggles his leg and you finally figure it out – he’s bluffing! You reluctantly call his bet and watch a mountain of chips disappear into the other player’s stack. You feel sick and want to throw up.

Getting to a point where you can beat the other players at your table takes time and patience. The divide between break-even beginner players and big-time winners is not as wide as some people think, however, it is largely a matter of learning to view the game in a cold, detached, mathematical and logical way rather than the emotional and superstitious way that many amateurs play.