The Basics of Poker


The game of poker is played with cards and chips, usually by 2 to 14 players. The object is to win the pot, the sum of all bets placed in a deal.

Each player is dealt 2 cards, and the first round of betting begins. This is initiated by 2 mandatory bets called “blinds” put into the pot by the two players to their left. Players may also choose to “check,” meaning they will not bet, and wait for other players to act before continuing.

After the initial deal, another round of betting begins with 1 additional card being dealt face up to each player. There is now a total of 5 community cards for each player to use for their best 5-card poker hand. During this stage of the game, it’s important to remember that luck can change at any time.

The key to successful poker is risk management. Just, a self-made billionaire and co-founder of financial firm PEAK6 Investments in Chicago, learned this skill as an options trader. She says that poker helps her build her comfort with taking risks, and it’s a useful lesson for people in new careers, as well: When your odds of winning a hand are decreasing, you might want to cut your losses. This is often more cost-effective than trying to recover from a losing position. Watch experienced players to learn how to make quick instinctive decisions. Practice your game, and keep a file of poker hands for reference.