While the rules of poker are not very complicated, being successful and winning consistently is difficult and requires a good amount of skill and savvy. Poker has hundreds of different varieties, but the one I will cover here is Texas Hold"em. It is one of the most popular at the casino, and is the game I am most familiar with. .
There are four rounds of betting in Texas Hold"em. First, each player is dealt two cards, face down. Next is the flop, in which three community cards are laid face up on the table. Community cards are cards that all players can use in their hand. After the flop comes the turn, when one more card is placed face up. Finally there is the river card, which is the fifth community card placed face up on the table. .
Rounds are made up of betting and checking. First it is the turn of the player to the left of the dealer. He may either bet or check. This decision is based upon how good the two cards are that he was dealt. Checking is simply not betting and passing on to the next player. You may check only when there has been no betting before you in a given round. Now there are two possible scenarios for the rest of the round. If the lead player checks, or if he bets. If he checks, then the player next to him has the same choice to make. If the first player bets though, then the second player has three choices, call, raise, or fold. If he calls then he is matching the bet and then it becomes the next player's turn. Raising is matching the previous players bet, and adding more to it. Folding means that the player puts his cards down and withdraws from the game. Betting for a round is over when each player has had a turn, and it has come back to the last person to bet or raise. If no one bets in a round, it will always end with the dealer. After each round, community cards are laid out with the flop, the turn, and the river card. After the river card, the final round of betting is played and a winner is determined.