The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players put chips into the pot that their opponents must match or raise. Players can check, which means they are passing on betting or they can bet, which is putting more chips into the pot than their opponent’s previous bet. They can also fold, which forfeits their hand.

While poker is mostly a game of chance, the betting aspect of it brings in quite a bit of skill and psychology. The best players know how to exploit the mistakes of their opponents and use bluffing to win more hands.

Before the cards are dealt there are usually forced bets, which are a fixed amount that all players must put into the pot, often equal to the size of the smallest blind. Once the forced bets are made, the dealer shuffles the cards, and the player to their left cuts. The dealer then deals 2 cards to each player, face up or down depending on the game type.

After the first round of betting is complete, another three cards are dealt, face up on the table. These are known as the flop and they will change the strength of every hand. The flop can make or break a poker hand, especially if it contains a pair.

Whether you’re in EP or MP, it’s important to play tight. This gives you more value when it’s your turn to act and you can bluff more easily. It’s also important to remember that it’s not just your own hand that matters – you have to consider how your opponents are playing as well.