Poker is a card game where players bet into the “pot” in order to win. The pot is the sum of all bets made during a single hand. Players can win the pot with a high-ranking poker hand or by bluffing. Regardless of which strategy you use, the goal is to make your opponents believe you have a strong hand when in reality, you don’t.
In a basic game, players are dealt two cards each and must decide whether to check (call without betting) or raise. Once everyone has had a chance to call, the dealer puts three more community cards on the table (known as the flop). At this point each player can choose to bet again or fold.
Once the flop is dealt, players must be careful not to over-play their hands. This is where many new players make their mistakes. For example, a pair of pocket kings on the flop could easily get beat by a flush or straight. If the board is loaded with aces, kings may be forced to fold or bet very little.
Getting to know your opponent’s betting patterns is an important part of poker. But many beginner players tend to think about their opponents’ hands individually instead of thinking about them in ranges. For example, a beginner might try to put their opponent on a specific hand like pocket kings and then play against that. However, a better way to approach this is by learning to read your opponent’s body language and playing style.