The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place wagers (or chips) into the pot and compete to make the best hand of five cards. It is played with a conventional 52-card deck in most variations. Unlike most other card games, poker is highly skill-based, and the more you play, the better you become. Luck has a role in the game, but it is more important to know when to bluff and how to read your opponents.

The game begins with each player receiving two cards, which are called hole cards, face down. Then, in a round of betting that varies between poker variants, the community cards are dealt face up in stages: three cards, known as the flop, and then an additional card, called the turn. After the turn, there is another round of betting.

In each betting interval, one player, designated by the rules of the specific poker variant being played, has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet. Players may choose to call this bet by putting the same number of chips into the pot as the player who made it, or they can raise it. They may also “drop” (fold) their hand, which means they give up competing for the pot and discard their cards.

In addition to betting, poker players often talk and use gestures to communicate. These are called tells, and they can include eye contact, facial expressions, and body language.