The Basics of Poker

Poker is one of the most popular games in the world, with over 100 million players both online and at land-based casinos. It has a long history and is set to keep growing for years to come.

The Basics

In most forms of poker, players are dealt five cards and are allowed to bet, call, or fold their hand. The player holding the best hand wins the pot, which is the total amount of money bet.


The strategy for a game of poker is based on the probability that a particular hand will win in the long run. Various factors determine the strategy, including psychology and game theory.


Poker players often use their subconscious habits to help them make decisions about their hands. This can include eye contact, facial expressions, body language, and gestures.

Counting chips, hiding high-value chips to give the impression of a smaller stack, and verbally saying that they “Raise” without actually putting any chips in are some of the most common tells.

Raise/Call Ratio

In a game of poker, the amount a player can bet or raise is typically based on the size of the previous bet. Generally, a player can only bet the same amount as the person to his right; if this is not the case, he must call (match) their bet.

A number of other strategies are also used to maximize a player’s expected value in the game. For example, a bluffing strategy in which a player bets a predetermined percentage of his very worst hands is one commonly used by expert players.