The Rules of Poker


A game in which players place chips (representing money, for which poker is almost invariably played) into a central pot for each round of betting. Each player has a turn to do so and is required to contribute an amount at least equal to the total contribution of the player before him.

Unlike most card games, poker has many rules governing how the game is played. These written and unwritten rules of etiquette and proper behaviour set the framework within which the game is played. The more these rules are understood, the easier it is to make informed decisions that lead to winning hands.

The aim of poker is to win the pot (money or chips) by making a high-ranked hand, or convincing other players that you have a high-ranked hand. The best way to do this is by betting and raising when you believe that an opponent’s cards are weak.

When your turn comes to bet, you can either “call” (put up an amount of money or chips equal to the amount that the player before you put in) or “raise” (put up more than the previous bet). If you call, then you must fold if your cards aren’t good enough.

To improve your game, it is important to understand the betting patterns of other players. Some players are very conservative and fold early, while others are aggressive and often raise before checking their cards. By observing other players and thinking about how you would react in their position, you can develop good instincts that will help you win more often.