# The Basics of Poker

There are several things that you should know about when playing poker. There are betting phases, Poker hands, and blind bets. However, the most important thing that you should know is the basic game theory. By knowing this, you will be able to make smart decisions at the table. If you don’t understand the basics of the game, you will have problems winning in poker.

## Game theory

Game theory for poker involves analyzing odds, variables, and other factors involved in poker games. Using this knowledge will help you make more informed decisions and win more hands. Moreover, it will help you improve your game by preventing confusion and speeding up play. For example, a basic understanding of how betting phases work will help you make better decisions when making bets.

## Betting phases

During a poker game, players go through different betting phases. Some hold their cards and raise every bet while others call every bet and fold. Understanding these phases can improve your game strategy and increase your winnings. In this article, we will discuss the three major betting phases in poker. Once you understand them, you can make informed decisions and maximize your profits.

The betting phases in poker are essential to the game’s structure. They parallel Marx’s theory of value. In each phase, a player is required to bet in proportion to the value of his hand. During each phase, a player may decide to check, raise, or fold when the odds are against him. Knowing which betting phases you are in will help you make the right decision in each situation. You can also learn how to recognize when the odds are against you, and use this information to your advantage.

## Poker hands

Two cards with the same rank are called pairs. A pair beats a pair with higher rank, but not a pair with a lower rank. Pairs can also have an odd card. The highest pair in a hand wins. For example, a pair of jacks beats a pair of tens. However, you can lose a hand if you bluff too hard.

The top ten starting poker hands should be played in most situations. After those, the next-best hands are suited Ax hands and suited connectors. These hands have excellent combination potential and can win big pots.

## Blind bets

Blind bets in poker are wagers that players make before the first cards are dealt. These bets are mandatory and must be higher than the dealer’s hand in order to win. Blind bets are the most common type of poker bets. The blind bets are placed to the left of the Dealer Button.

Blind bets are a vital part of the betting process in poker. They guarantee that the dealer does not lose money in the process of distributing the cards. Without blind bets, no one would win money at the table. Besides helping you win money, blind bets also provide some strategic value.

## Side pot

A side pot in poker is a pot that’s separate from the main pot and belongs to players who have not all-in yet. It’s usually much larger than the main pot and can be won with weaker hands. The side pot is sometimes used to decide which players to eliminate. However, there are a few situations when it is not necessary to win a side pot.

For instance, a player with 30,000 chips moves all in, but only has enough to cover the bet. As a result, the player with the smallest stack has to match the bets of the players with larger stacks. If the player calls the all-in bet of three other players, the remaining chips go into the side pot.