Basic Rules of Poker


Poker is a game of cards where players put chips (representing money) into the pot to make their hand. Each player has two personal cards and five community cards. The highest hand wins the pot. Unlike many games, in poker the rules are very clear and there is no ambiguity on how to play. The basic rules of poker are easy to learn, and after a little practice, most players can easily join in at a local game or online.

A general rule of thumb is that you should only gamble with money that you can afford to lose. It is also important to track your wins and losses, especially if you start getting serious about playing poker.

During each betting interval, one player, designated by the rules of the particular game, has the privilege or obligation of making the first bet. After the initial bet, the other players can call, raise or fold.

If you have a premium opening hand like a pair of Kings, Queens or Aces, it is good to bet aggressively. This will force weaker hands out and improve the value of your pot.

Some people make the mistake of being too conservative and avoiding bets on the flop and turn. This can backfire and they end up losing their stack because they don’t win any chips on later streets. The best way to read other players is to notice their bet patterns. The more conservative players will usually check early and only play their strong hands, while the more aggressive players will often bet when they don’t have the best hand.