The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. Each player places a bet, or puts chips into the pot, in turn, and may either “call” the previous player’s bet (put the same number of chips into the pot as the preceding player) or “raise,” meaning that the player put more than the previous player into the pot. A player who does not call the raise must “drop” (fold), which means they forfeit any of their chips that have gone into the pot.

The game has a lot of variation, but there are some basic fundamentals that every good poker player understands and abides by. First and foremost, a good poker hand is only as strong as the situation that surrounds it. It is impossible to say what a strong or weak hand is in absolute terms but there are hands that tend to win more often than others.

A strong understanding of position is also necessary to a successful poker game. This is a concept that, when properly executed, will give you the most advantage over your opponents. The idea is to act last during the post-flop portion of a hand so that you have the best chance of guessing what your opponent has and then raising more hands when they have bad ones while folding more of their good hands.

Sticky players, or calling stations, can be a huge obstacle for new poker players. These players typically do not like to fold, which makes it almost impossible to bluff them, and they make bets with very marginal hands because they are afraid of losing their stack.