The Basics of Poker

The game of poker has deep roots that reach back nearly 1,000 years, across several continents and cultures. Some historians trace it to a 10th-century Chinese domino card game; others link it to a similar game played by riverboat crews and soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Whatever its origins, the game quickly spread up and down the Mississippi River and across the country, becoming a staple in Wild West saloons.

When you say “call” or “I call,” you’re putting the same amount of money into the pot as the person before you. If the player before you raised, you’d say “raise” or “I raise.”

If you have a good hand off the deal, you can play aggressively by raising often and betting big. This will make it hard for weaker players to shove or call your bets, and will increase your chances of winning a pot.

However, be careful about over-playing a strong hand; you’ll only frustrate other players and hurt your chances of winning. If you have a great hand and flops a monster, it’s okay to fold. You can always try again on the next round — but remember, the best way to win is to make your opponent fold. If you do, you’ll get to collect the pot without having to reveal your cards. If no one folds on the final betting round, all the hands are revealed and the player with the highest ranked hand wins.