The Basics of Poker
This article is aimed at poker novices and casual players: maybe you've watched a few episodes of televised poker and you want to know why the players did what they did, or maybe you play in an occasional home game and wonder why you rarely win. Absorb the ideas in this tutorial and you'll improve markedly. For those of you who do play in a home game, I'll let you in on a little secret: even if the stakes you play for are modest, it's much more fun if you understand what you're doing, and why you're doing it. Not only will you win more often, but appreciating the strategy of poker makes playing the game much more engaging (even when you're simply watching those hands you're not involved in).
The form of poker I'm going to focus on is No Limit Texas Hold'Em (NLHE), which has long since eclipsed the other forms of the game in popularity. Note: I'm not going to go over the rules of NLHE here; if you need to, you can read the Wikipedia article and then come back.