The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet money to try and win a pot. The game involves a number of betting rounds and can be played with any number of players from two to 14.

One of the most important aspects of poker is learning how to read your opponents. You can learn this by watching them play and observing their reactions to different situations.


Limits are an important part of poker because they determine the betting structure. They also impact the amount of money you can bet or raise.

The most common type of limit is fixed-limit poker, which limits the size of bets to a specific range (e.g. $2/$4 or 5/10).

A player can bet a set amount before the flop, and another amount after the flop, turn and river. A player can re-raise during these rounds as well.

Fixed-limit games have the advantage of allowing players to keep a better handle on their bankroll. However, they are also less forgiving than no-limit games because there is a smaller room for error. This makes it difficult to learn strategies or practice bluffing skills with this style of poker.


The ante is a forced bet that requires all players to put a small amount of money in the pot before the cards are dealt. It’s a good way to keep the excitement high and increase the odds of winning big.

Ante sizing is usually done on a per-player basis, but some games may use the ante pool concept to keep all of the chips in play in one place. As in other poker games, the best way to determine ante size is to ask for a sizing chart and pay attention to any squiggles and creases that appear when you fold your hand. Some casinos will even provide a free ante sizing guide at the start of the game to help with this.


Blinds are mandatory bets that must be placed into the pot before any cards are dealt. They are paid by the players occupying the small blind and big blind positions at a poker table.

They help drive the action forward, prevent players from simply folding their weaker holdings until they are dealt premium hands, and keep poker games from becoming too slow and boring.

The size of the blinds in cash games is fixed, but in tournaments they are periodically increased to induce more action. As they increase, stack sizes are impacted and the players need to effectively manage their stack size in order to win more pots.

Generally speaking, speculative hands are more valuable in the early stages of a poker tournament when the blinds are low and stack size is bigger. However, when the blinds are high and stack size is smaller, the flop is more likely to be dominated by solid hands.

Dealer button

The dealer button in poker is a small white disc that indicates who deals the cards in the current hand. It moves around the table in a clockwise direction, indicating the nominal dealer for that hand.

In most casino and card room cash games, there is a fixed dealer who distributes the cards for each hand. This is typically a single player, though in some locations, there are multiple dealers rotating their roles from hand to hand.

In addition to the dealer button, there are other buttons used to indicate specific playing conditions. These include a kill button, missed blind button, short buy button and all-in button.