The Basics of Poker



Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into the pot during betting rounds. The best five-card hand wins the round and the money in the pot. Unlike most card games, poker is played against other players rather than against the dealer.

Before the cards are dealt, some poker variants require that a player contribute to the pot a sum of chips equal to or at least as much as the total contribution by the player who went before him. This is known as the ante. Players may also raise or lower their contributions to the pot in turn, depending on the rules of the game. When it is a player’s turn to bet, they may say “I call” to make a bet that exactly matches the bet made by the player before him or they can simply say “check” to remain silent and pass the turn to the next player.

Ties in poker are broken by the highest unmatched card, or by the higher of two distinct pairs. A high card can also break ties in a full house (three of a kind and a pair) or in a straight flush.

To play poker well, it is important to learn the different betting strategies used by other players. You should also develop quick instincts to know when you have a good or bad hand. Practicing and watching experienced players will help you build these instincts.