The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by a number of players, usually around a table. It is a fast-paced, competitive and often dicey game.

The game begins with each player placing a small bet, called an ante. Then each player is dealt three cards face down. The ante wager determines the size of the pot for each betting round.

Optimal strategy states that the player should “play” all hands greater than Queen, Six and Four and fold all hands worse than those. This is a good rule of thumb for poker, as it will help you avoid getting involved in losing deals.

In addition, a player may use an optional “kitty,” which is used to build up a fund that can be split among the remaining players. This fund is used to pay for new decks of cards or to provide food and drinks to the players.


The rules of most games are fairly standard, but in some variations a second pack of contrasting color cards is used to speed up the game. This is not done in all poker clubs or among the best players, and is not recommended.

Poker is a fast-paced game that requires the player to make decisions quickly and decisively. It can be intimidating at first, but it is worth the effort to master it.

The optimal play for each situation in poker depends on many factors. For instance, it depends on the cards exposed by your opponent and his or her reaction to your decisions earlier in the hand. It also depends on your opponents’ betting pattern and how much information you have about him or her.