The Basics of Poker

Poker is a game of chance and skill, where players bet against each other to form the best hand. The rules of poker are based on probability, psychology and game theory.

In a standard game of poker, betting rounds are held clockwise around the table. After a round of betting has been completed, all active players must either call the biggest raise or fold their hand.

To play, each player begins the game by placing an ante in the middle of the table. Then, they take turns in a clockwise rotation to act.

If a player says “I open”, they may bet or raise a pre-established amount (or the ante $1, if no amount has been called yet). After the antes are placed and the first player acts, each player must then either check, fold, or raise a minimum bet.

When a player checks, it means that they do not wish to bet or raise the ante; they simply want to see their cards. After checking, they can discard and draw 1 to 3 cards.

A player can also say “I call” to match a bet or raise, although they do not have to pay a minimum amount to stay in the pot. If a player calls, they have to match the amount of the last bet or raise, unless it was lower than theirs.

Some players have the habit of splashing chips directly into the pot, known as a “splash”. This can cause confusion over the amount of a raise and is not allowed in most games. Splashing is also sometimes used to hide the true amount of a bet.