The Basics of Poker

Poker is an international card game with a long and complex history. It originated in the 16th century as a bluffing game in German, called Pochen, and later evolved into a French version known as Poque. It was brought to America during the Revolutionary War on board riverboats that plied the Mississippi. Today, poker is a game enjoyed in virtually every country where cards are played.

During each betting interval (as designated by the rules of the particular poker variant being played), one player, in turn, has the privilege and obligation to place chips into the pot that are equal or greater than the amount placed in the pot by the player to his left. The other players may call the bet, raise it, or drop it. A player who calls the bet and has a good poker hand must then decide whether to continue playing the hand or to fold it, thus ending his participation in that particular poker deal.

Top players fast-play their strong hands, not only to build the pot but also to scare off other players who might be waiting for a draw that could beat them. It’s not a strategy for beginners, but it’s a proven way to make money.

Beginners should play tight, staying in only the best hands and avoiding the worst. They should also learn to read opponents. This means figuring out the range of possible cards an opponent might have and using that information to work out their odds of winning.