Understanding the Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where players bet chips (representing money) with which to make a “hand” using their own 2 cards and the 5 community cards. A player’s goal is to win the pot, or all of the chips bet so far.

After all players have received their 2 hole cards, the dealer deals them a single additional card face up. A new round of betting begins with the player to the left of the dealer, who can choose to “hit,” stay, or double up. The term hitting means that you want to add another card to your hand and that you are willing to risk a bad beat for the chance at a better one. Staying is the opposite of hitting and means that you are happy with your current value and do not want any more cards.

Players can also choose to raise by putting in more chips into the pot than the player before them. This is an example of pot control, where you can influence how high the pot will be by your actions, allowing you to maximize the value of strong hands or minimize the potential for drawing hands.

It is important to understand the concept of ranges in poker, particularly when playing heads up. A lot of players will try to put their opponent on a hand, but more experienced players will work out the entire selection of hands that the player could have and bet accordingly.