Unlike blackjack where luck is the major factor in winning, poker has a lot of skill when it comes to betting. The game also involves a lot of psychology and reading your opponents. Here are a few basic things to know about poker:
The first step in learning how to play poker is to understand how the cards are dealt. Each player puts up a small amount of money before seeing their cards called an ante. This creates a pot right away and encourages competition.
After each player has their 2 hole cards they can decide whether to play their hand or fold it. If you want to keep your cards and continue betting you say “call” or put in the same amount of money as the person to your left. If you want to increase your bet amount you say “raise.”
When deciding whether or not to call or raise you must pay attention to the players around you. They may give away information about their hands or their thoughts on the action by their body language and actions. Look for tells like shallow breathing, sighing, flaring nostrils, eye watering, blinking or excessively swallowing. A hand over the mouth or shaking is often a sign that the player is bluffing.
Then a third card is added to the table that’s called the flop. There is another round of betting starting with the player on the left. If you have a good poker hand you can continue to the fourth and final betting interval which is called the river. The highest poker hand wins the pot.