The Basics of Poker


Many people have experienced luck at poker, and while some people are indeed luckier than others, the majority of poker hands are unlucky. As the number of hands dealt grows, the element of luck diminishes. However, the expected value of poker hands is still close to a normal bell curve in the long run.

Big blind

In poker, the players to the left of the dealer button must make “blinds” or forced bets in the game. The blinds are usually two, but may range from zero to three.


In poker, a kicker is a card that differentiates a pair of hands with equal values. A kicker will determine which hand gets the first rank. For example, if an ace is up against an AK, an ace would outkick the A4 and the ace would win the hand. Kickers cannot be used with ace-up hands, which are called straights.

Highest possible hand in poker

The ace is considered the highest possible hand in poker. This hand beats all other hands, except for two pairs. In some situations, two pairs are a better hand than an ace, but usually the ace will win. A pair of aces is also a good hand in certain situations, but they are not as strong as a royal flush.

Betting intervals in poker

One of the most important aspects of poker strategy is betting intervals. These intervals determine how much each player should bet and the overall picture at the table. Intervals can be as short as two seconds, or as long as seven minutes.

Forced bets in poker

Forced bets in poker are often used to seed the pot and give players more incentive to make strong hands. They are also used to provide an advantage to players with weaker hands. This form of betting is used in draw poker, flop poker, and stud poker.

Draw poker

Draw poker is a variation on the classic poker game. It involves the use of a five-card deck, with the dealer deciding which cards are wild. The dealer also decides how many draws each player gets and how many cards each player may discard. The rules of this game vary depending on the number of players, and are similar to traditional poker games.