A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


The game of poker involves players placing bets with chips that are added to the pot during each round. There are multiple rounds of betting in a hand and the player with the best five card hand wins the entire pot, including all initial forced bets (called antes and blinds). A successful player must possess several skills, such as discipline, perseverance and sharp focus. It is also important to choose profitable games and limits.

During the game, the dealer shuffles the cards and then deals each player two of them face down. These are the player’s “hole” cards. There are also five community cards that are dealt to the table (called the “flop”). The players aim to make the best possible five card poker hand using their own two hole cards and the community cards.

A good poker player must know the odds that apply to his or her bet and have a keen understanding of how other players act at the table, particularly their bluffing tendencies (called tells). The ability to conceal one’s own tells is also crucial for success. Physical control of the expressions is also important, but the famous “poker face” is not as crucial as some people believe (it’s mostly an idea fluffed by movies and poker TV shows). Instead, a good player must be highly motivated, have excellent reading skills, and be able to make smart decisions about when to call, raise or fold.