How to Play Poker – The Twin Elements of Luck and Skill


Poker is a game where the twin elements of luck and skill are both required to win. Luck has a significant impact on a player’s results but over time the application of skill will virtually eliminate the role of chance.

After the first betting round in a hand, the dealer deals three cards face up on the table that everyone can use. This is known as the flop. There is one final round of betting and the player with the best 5 card poker hand wins the pot which includes all of the bets made at each previous interval.

You can say “call” to make a bet equal to the last player’s bet or raise. You can also say “raise” to add more money to the betting pool.

A poker hand has to consist of five cards of the same rank, or two matching cards and three unmatched cards (known as pair). You cannot have a flush, a straight or a full house with a pair.

Learning poker is different from learning many other skills because of the important role that luck plays in the short term. Students study hard for tests and can see their efforts pay off, athletes train and can literally feel the improvement in their strength and coordination, and musicians practice their songs until they are perfect. However, in poker the element of luck is much greater and can lead to misperceptions about ability and progress.