The Basics of Poker

Poker comes in many different forms and is played in home games, at casino tables and even in tournaments for thousands of dollars. While some versions of the game are quite simple, others have a great deal of skill and psychology behind them. Whether you’re playing for pennies or millions, there are certain basic rules that all players must abide by in order to keep things fair and to prevent any major issues.

In most poker games, betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind. He or she can either fold, call (match the amount of the highest bet before them) or raise. However, a player may only raise if nobody before them did so or if the previous player has raised. Otherwise, raising is considered a form of “sandbagging” and is not allowed.

If you’re new to poker, you can learn the basics by reading a book or by joining a game at a local casino. Online casinos also have games that you can play for free, so that you can practice without risking any real money.

Depending on the type of poker game, a group of players can establish a special fund called a “kitty” that is used to pay for new decks of cards or food and drinks. Any chips left in the kitty when the game ends are divided among those players who remain in the game. Using this fund to help someone else win the game is called ghosting, and it violates poker rules.