The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game where players place chips into the pot – and the highest hand wins. Players must ante something (typically a dime or so), and then are dealt two cards face down. A betting round takes place between each new deal. When it’s your turn to act, you can choose to make a bet (putting money into the pot), call any existing bets, or fold.

Each player’s hand develops during the betting round, and a final showdown happens when the players reveal their cards. The winning hand is the best one of the following:

A high pair – this is 2 distinct cards of the same rank. This beats a lower pair and any unmatched cards. A straight – this is five cards in consecutive rank, and can be from more than one suit. A flush – this is three matching cards of one rank, plus two other unmatched cards.

You can also have a full house, which is 3 matching cards of one rank, and 2 matching cards of another rank. And you can also have a high card, which breaks ties when nobody has a pair or better.

There are a lot of different poker games, and many ways to play them. But there are some basic things to keep in mind, and the more you practice, the faster and better you’ll get. It’s important to remember that poker is a game of instincts – you must learn how to read your opponents and take advantage of their weaknesses.