A Beginner’s Guide to Poker

Poker is a game of highs and lows. Sometimes you’ll be jumping for joy and other times you’ll be despairing over your terrible luck. What will keep you going over the long term, though, is a love for the game and a solid winning strategy.

As a beginner, it’s important to start at the lowest limits. This will allow you to play versus weak players and learn the game without spending much money. As you gain more experience, you can then move up the stakes and play versus stronger players.

The game begins with each player placing an initial amount of money into the pot (this is called putting in your chips). When it’s your turn to act, you can either fold, call or raise. If you raise, you have to match the highest previous bet.

You’ll need to spend time learning about hand rankings, basic rules and positions. It’s important to understand these things because they will influence your decision-making process. For example, if you are in EP position (the first position at the table), you should be tight and only open strong hands.

You also need to know how to read other players. This isn’t so much about subtle physical tells (although they’re useful) but more about observing their betting patterns. For example, if a player is very conservative and tends to fold early, you can usually assume they’re playing pretty crappy cards. On the other hand, if they bet a lot it’s likely that they have a good hand.