The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more people. It is a game of chance and skill, where players bet to win the pot, which is the aggregate of all bets made in a hand. There are many variations of the game, but most share some basic principles. The aim of the game is to make the best 5 card poker hand, or to beat your opponents by bluffing with weak hands and raising with strong ones.

It is important to note that there are both written and unwritten rules of poker etiquette. It is polite to always check behind you before betting again, and never raise more than once in a row (unless everyone else raised already). It is also courteous to say “sit out” when you have a hand that is not good enough to call another player’s bet. It is okay to sit out a hand if you need to go to the bathroom, refresh your drink, or take a phone call, but you should not miss more than a couple of hands, otherwise it becomes unfair for you to not put any money in.

A common mistake beginners make is being too passive with their draws. If you have a strong draw like a flush or straight, you should bet aggressively to get the other players to fold and win your hand by the river. This will improve your bluffing chances and also allow you to increase your winnings from your strong hands.