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The Basics of Poker


The game of poker is a skill-based card game with an element of chance. While there is some luck involved, most of the money won or lost at a poker table is determined by decisions made by players on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

When a hand is dealt, the first player to act puts in chips into the pot (an amount that depends on the game). Then each player must either call that bet by putting the same number of chips into the pot as the person before them, raise that bet by adding more chips to the pool, or fold.

A player’s goal is to form the highest-ranking poker hand based on the cards in their hand and then claim the pot at the end of the betting period. The hand can be any of the following: pair (two distinct pairs), three of a kind, straight, flush, or full house. High card breaks ties.

The key to poker success is being able to read other players and understand their tells (tells are nonverbal cues, like fidgeting with a ring or mumbling) so that you can adjust your own strategy accordingly. These skills are transferable to life, too. They will help you better manage your own emotions and read other people in the workplace, as well as helping you make smart financial decisions when it comes to spending or saving your hard-earned cash.