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The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of strategy, chance and psychology. While much of the outcome of any individual hand is determined by luck, strategic decisions made on the basis of probability and psychology can dramatically affect a player’s long-run expectations. In addition to bluffing, poker involves reading other players. This is a crucial part of the game. In the beginning, it is best to focus on reading subtle physical tells, but once you get the hang of the game it is a good idea to observe other players’ betting patterns as well.

After all players have received their 2 cards a round of betting begins. This is generally initiated by the player to the left of the dealer putting in a forced bet called a blind. This helps ensure that there is a pot to win and keeps the game competitive.

Once the first betting round is over a 3rd card is dealt face up on the table, known as the flop. Another round of betting then takes place and it is at this point that the player with the highest 5 card poker hand wins the pot.

After the flop there is a final betting round and then a 5th community card is revealed, known as the river. If you have a high poker hand you can choose to continue betting, or you can fold. In most poker games, a kitty is established by the players and any low denomination chips remaining in the kitty after the game ends are distributed evenly amongst those who are still playing.