The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of strategy and psychology, where it’s often the little things that count. The more you understand the intricacies of the game, the better able you will be to read your opponents and play your hand.

The basics

Once all players have their 2 hole cards, a round of betting begins with the two mandatory bets (called blinds) placed into the pot by the players to the left of the dealer. Once the bets have been made, 3 more cards are dealt face up. This is called the flop. A second round of betting then occurs.

The most important thing you need to know about poker is the way players react and communicate with each other during a hand. This by-play, often revealed in gestures and body language, is what makes a poker story interesting and worth reading. The best stories are often ones where the key players have a clash of personalities and beliefs during a hand.

One of the best poker tips is to always mix up how you play your hands. If your opponents always know what you’re holding, you’ll never get paid off on your strong value hands and your bluffs will fail. This is particularly important when you’re in early position, where you should be playing tight and opening only with your strongest hands. When you’re in late position, on the other hand, you can afford to inflate the pot size and exercise more control over your opponent’s calls.