A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game that involves betting and making strategic decisions based on probability, psychology and gaming theory. It is a game that can be very addictive and requires skill, determination and practice to improve. The split between break-even beginner players and big time winners is not as wide as some people believe. Often it is just a few small adjustments that will allow players to start winning consistently.

One of the most important things to learn is how to read your opponents. This can be done using subtle physical poker tells (such as scratching your nose or playing nervously with chips) or more importantly by looking at patterns in their play. For example if a player calls every single time they are in the pot it is likely that they have a weak hand. If they are always folding it is probably a strong hand.

Once everyone has their 2 cards the dealer puts 3 community cards on the table that anyone can use (this is called the flop). A round of betting then begins with each player having the option to call, raise or fold.

If you have a strong value hand like a full house, straight or flush then this is the time to call! However, you should not be afraid to bet your opponents when you have a mediocre or drawing hand. By doing so you can get more value out of your strong hands and also inflate the size of the pot when other players call. This is called pot control.