A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game that requires a lot of skill and raw technical expertise to win. It’s a very competitive game and the best players will always win – but you need to know how to make the optimal betting decisions with your hands in any situation.

How to Play

In poker, each player is dealt five cards and the goal is to use those cards to make the best hand possible. The winner is the player with the highest hand. The highest possible hand is a Royal Flush, which is five cards of the same suit.

The rank of standard poker hands is determined by their odds (probability). Two or more identical hands tie and divide any winning equally.

A tournament bracket pits an even number of teams in several rounds of games until there’s only one team standing. Each round is different and players must make decisions based on probability, psychology, and game theory.

Rules and Bets

In most games, the dealer deals the cards clockwise from the left. This is marked by a token called a dealer button or buck, which is rotated among the players to indicate a nominal dealer.

Forced Bets

Before each hand is dealt, one or more players are required to place an initial amount of money into the pot. These bets are called forced bets and come in three forms: antes, blinds, and bring-ins.

At the end of each betting interval, all bets are gathered into the central pot. At the final betting interval, each player can show their hand.