Poker Basics

   The Mathematics of Poker

   Poker Strategies

   Poker Game Cases

   Poker Vocabulary

   Online Poker




The Real Basics

Poker is a simple games; even a child can learn it. It's a game of money and of people, played with cards. The object of the games is to win money or chips, collectively called the "pot," wagered during the play of each hand. (Don't get confused here, but a hand also refers to the cards in a player's possession.) A pot can be won in just two ways:

- By showing down the best hand: When two or more players are still active after all betting rounds are over, they show down their hands by turning them face up. The player holding the best hand wins the pot. While with in-the-flesh play it's possible for an all-too-human dealer to goof by misreading your winning hand at showdown, in Internet poker it's not. Online, your winning hand will always be rewarded, whether you've read it correctly or not. As long as you've called all bets in the final round (or gone "all-in," meaning you've put the remainder of your table stakes into the pot in the course of the hand), the games's "invisible dealer" automatically awards you the pot, or whatever portion of it you're entitled to if you've gone all-in.

- By having all opponents fold their hands: No, their hands aren't clasped in front of them. Folding means a player relinquished any claim to the pot by deciding not to match (call) an opponent's bet. He discards his hand - also called "folding" or "mucking." To "muck" one's hand means to fold it. Either way you put it, those losers bit the dust. But in Internet poker, rather than see folded cards in a physical discard pile, or "muck," you'll simply see them vanish into the void of cyberspace. Poof! They're gone!

If you win the pot because all your opponents fold, you may have had the best hand, or you may have been bluffing it doesn't matter. If all others surrender their claim to the pot, it belongs to you.

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