The Basics of Poker


Poker, like many card games, involves quite a bit of chance. But when money is involved, it becomes a much more complex game of psychology and skill. For more information, get a good book on poker, or start playing with some friends who know how.

When playing poker, a player should never put more in the pot than is in his pocket (or, if he doesn’t have pockets, what he thinks is a fair amount). If you are not comfortable betting any more, it’s polite to say so. Likewise, it’s appropriate to walk away from a hand and come back when you feel ready to continue.

At the beginning of each hand, players buy a certain number of chips (representing money) to play with. Each chip has a different color and value. Typically, a white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet, a red chip is worth five whites, and a blue chip is worth 10 whites.

Before each deal, the player to the left of the dealer puts in “blinds,” which are forced bets that must be made before cards are dealt. The “small blind” is half the minimum bet, and the “big blind” is two times the small blind.

Once the dealer deals all the cards, everyone has a chance to make their best five-card hand. The winning hands include a pair (two cards of the same rank), three of a kind (3 cards of the same rank and 2 unmatched cards), straight, four of a kind (4 consecutive cards of the same rank), full house (three of a kind and one pair), and high card, which breaks ties.

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