A card game of bluffing and misdirection, poker is the only major card game that’s truly international. Its origin is uncertain, but it has evolved from the 16th-century German polochen and French poque into a form that’s now played in almost every country that has a gambling industry.
Before dealing any cards, the player to the left of the dealer must place a small amount of money into the pot (representing “money,” for which poker is almost invariably played). Then each player is dealt two cards face down and another card face up. These are the players’ hole cards (cards they keep hidden from their opponents).
In each betting interval, or round, one player has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet, and each player in turn must either call that bet by putting chips into the pot equal to the amount of the bet made by the player before him, or raise the bet by putting more into the pot than the previous player did. If a player is not willing to do either of these, he must drop out of the betting.
The goal of any skilled poker player is to minimize losses with weak hands and maximize wins with strong ones. In order to do so, a player should develop quick instincts by playing often and observing experienced players to see how they react. This is especially important when it comes to reading the tells of other players – their eye movements, idiosyncrasies, hand gestures, and betting behavior.