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How to Play Poker

How to Play Poker


Poker is a card game where players compete to win the pot. Each player makes a contribution to the pot, called an ante or blind bet, and cards are then dealt. Players may then make additional bets during one or more betting intervals, depending on the particular poker variant. A player who bets the same amount as the last player is said to call; a player who bets more than the previous player is said to raise. Players who do not wish to raise may say “check,” which allows them to stay in the hand without making a bet.

When you have a premium starting hand like pocket pairs, suited aces, or broadway hands it’s important to bet aggressively. This forces weaker hands to fold and increases the value of your poker hand. It’s also important to know your starting hands and how to play them.

Don’t get too attached to your hands – even good hands can be destroyed by a bad board. For example, if you have pocket kings and the flop comes A-8-5 it could spell doom for your hand.

Learn to read other players and look for tells. Tells include not just the nervous body language of fiddling with chips, but also idiosyncrasies in a player’s betting behavior. A player who frequently calls and then suddenly makes a big raise may be holding an unbeatable poker hand. Practice and watch experienced players to develop quick instincts.