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A Beginner’s Guide to Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets and then reveal their cards. The highest hand wins the pot. The game can be played in a casual, social setting for pennies or matchsticks or professionally in casinos and other venues for thousands of dollars. Usually two decks of 52 cards are used; one is dealt and the other is left shuffled beside the dealer. The ace is the highest card; the king (K), queen (Q) and jack (J) are next in rank; then the 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three and deuce cards follow.

A good rule to remember is: “Play the player, not the cards.” A hand is only really good or bad in relation to what your opponents have. Pocket kings are fantastic, for example, but if another player has A-A then they’re going to win 82% of the time.

It’s important to learn to read other players and understand their tells (eye movements, idiosyncrasies, hand gestures etc.). This will allow you to make informed decisions and spot possible bluffs before they’re even made.

It’s also important to play only with money that you’re comfortable losing. Many beginners are tempted to gamble more than they can afford to lose and this is dangerous. In general you should be able to comfortably lose 200 bets at the maximum limit before trying to make more money. If you can’t do this, then it’s best to take a break from the game.