The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting. A player may choose to raise, call or fold their cards at any time during the hand. The object of the game is to win the pot, which is the sum total of all bets placed during that hand.

Players must first make an initial forced bet, typically the ante or blind, before the dealer shuffles and deals each player their cards. Then a series of betting rounds begins, with each player putting their bets into the middle of the table, or “pot.” Players can only win the pot by having the best poker hand at that point in the deal.

Position Matters

It’s important to have good position when you’re playing poker because this gives you a lot of bluffing opportunities and allows you to make more accurate value bets. A player’s position also lets them see more information about their opponent’s hands, which is necessary to make informed decisions in the game of poker.

A basic understanding of the game’s rules is important, but to really get a feel for how to play poker you should read some books or take a poker course. One of our favorites is the book ‘The One Percent,’ which provides a framework for thinking about the math behind poker. Specifically, the author explores balance, frequencies and ranges in a way that is extremely helpful. Another great resource is ‘Poker Math and Strategy’ by Matt Janda.