The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played between a group of players. During the game players place forced bets (amount varies by game, our games are typically nickels) to get dealt cards. Once everyone has their cards they then put their bet into the center of the table known as the pot. After a number of betting rounds the best poker hand wins the pot.

A player can either call (match the last bet) raise, or fold. The best poker hands are suited pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, flush, and royal flush. Each of these hands has its own strength, but the highest ranked hand is a royal flush (aces, kings, queens and jacks in one suit).

When you say “call” you’re saying that you want to match the bet made by the person on your right. This is also called “calling it.”

After the first round of betting is complete the dealer puts a third card face up on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop.

The next betting round is again in clockwise order and this time the player has a choice of calling, raising or folding. After all bets have been placed the dealer will put a fourth card on the board that anyone can use. This is called the river.

Now is the time to evaluate the board and your opponents range. It’s often best to bluff only when you know that your opponent is likely to fold. This requires a lot of skill and knowledge of your opponent’s style.