The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players compete to build hands with the best combination of cards. There are hundreds of variants, but all have the same basic rules. The object of the game is to win a pot of money by having the best possible hand. The cards are dealt face-down and a player must place an initial contribution, called an “ante,” to the pot to start the game.

The Deal

The dealer shuffles the cards, then cuts and deals them to the players one at a time in the order in which they are seated. Depending on the rules of the variant being played, this may be done either face-up or face-down.

Betting Intervals

In every betting interval, one or more players must place a bet. The bet may be small or large, and the total of all the bets must equal or exceed the ante. In some games, players can also call or raise the previous bet.


A player who wishes to remain in the game without betting may “check,” which means that they will not make another bet until the next betting interval. They must then match or raise any subsequent bet made by anyone before them in that betting interval.

During the round of play, the player who checks can be sandbagged by another player, who may call or raise a check-bet. If the check-bet is called, the player who checked can no longer play and must withdraw their chips.


In some games, the players establish a special fund to be used when there are multiple raises in a single pot. The special fund is called the “kitty.” When the game ends, the kitty is split equally among all players who remain in the game.

Bad Beats

Everyone has bad beats in poker. This is a natural part of the game, and it is often hard to avoid them. However, it is a good idea to try to minimize the negative emotions you feel about these beats.

Talking While Not In The Hand

Regardless of the type of poker you play, it is a very bad idea to talk while not in the hand. This can disrupt other players and even give away information. It can also make your decision-making process very difficult, especially if you are trying to figure out what cards to bet on or fold.


There are many tells in poker, including physical expressions, body language, and gestures. These tells can be as simple as a change in posture or as complex as an increasing pulse seen in the neck or temple.

Don’t complain about your bad beats

A lot of people love to complain about their bad beats at the table. It’s not only annoying, but it can ruin the entire mood at the table and can cause others to play worse.

If you’re a new player, it’s best to wait until the game is over before talking about your losses. This is because it can distract other players and prevent them from focusing on their own game.