The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting. Each player starts the hand by putting a ‘chip in the pot’ (the amount varies). Then each person gets dealt five cards. Once the betting gets started players can raise or fold their hands. The highest hand wins the pot.

Once everyone has a bet to call, the dealer deals three more community cards onto the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop. Depending on the strength of your starting hand, your position at the table, and the actions of other players you may choose to check, call, or raise.

Pocket kings are strong but an ace on the flop can spell disaster especially if the rest of the board is full of flush or straight cards. The same goes for pocket queens.

It’s a good idea to get to know the players at your table. Keeping an eye on the way they bet can help you pick up their tells. For example, if someone always checks you can assume they have a weak hand and try to bluff them out of the pot. Aggressive players are risk-takers and can be bluffed out of their money if you can read them correctly.

There are many different forms of poker but the basic principles are the same across the board. A royal flush is five cards of the same rank (e.g. 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Aces). A straight is five cards in a row, all of the same suit. A pair is two matching cards of one rank and another card of any rank. High card breaks ties.