Poker is a game that involves betting. The players make bets to create a pot. The pot is composed of several smaller pots. Each side pot contains money that is not part of the main pot. A player can contribute as much or as little money as he likes, and can make several side pots.


The buy-in is the initial amount you must pay to enter a poker tournament or game. Typically, the buy-in is set at a certain amount, like $1,000 for a no-limit tournament. In some poker variations, buy-ins are higher.

Betting phases

Poker players go through several different betting phases during a game. Some hold back until they have a good hand, while others call every bet on the first few streets. The timing and length of these phases are critical to the outcome of the game, and understanding them can greatly improve your winning percentage.

Tie hands

In poker, a tie hand occurs when two players have the same five-card combination. In a tie, the player who has the better pair wins the pot. Different types of ties have different betting implications. Learn about the different types of ties and how to break them in poker.


Blinds in poker are a big part of the game, but they also require a different strategy. As you play, you have to decide if you want to defend or raise your blind. When deciding whether or not to defend your blind, you should consider your opponent’s range. If your opponent is tight, he will rarely raise trash from the button, while a loose player will often open his hand with a weak hand from early position. It is also important to know your opponent’s range and observe them closely in order to decide when to raise or call. Some beginners make the mistake of defending the blinds too much, and they end up in tough spots later on.

Side pots

A side pot is created when a player decides to go all in, causing other players to place additional bets “on the side.” This side pot is separate from the main pot, and only those players who have not withdrawn their bets can win it. A player can win both a side pot and the main pot, depending on his or her stack size.

Best possible hand

When playing poker, you want to have the best possible poker hand. You want to avoid making assumptions, such as thinking that if you have two Aces, you’ll win. The worst poker hand is called a High Card, which is a hand with five cards of different denominations. The highest-ranking card in the hand determines its value, so a King-high hand always beats a Queen-high hand.