The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place bets against other players. Each player’s hand is made up of five cards. The highest hand wins. The cards may be in sequence or out of order. The best possible hand is a straight (cards that skip around in rank or suit) followed by a flush. The next best is three of a kind. Two pairs are also possible.

Depending on the rules of the poker variant being played, one or more players are required to make an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called a forced bet and usually comes in the form of an ante or blind bet.

When it is your turn to act you can either “call” the previous player’s bet by placing the same amount of chips into the pot, “raise” your bet by adding more chips than the previous bet or simply “drop” by folding your hand and forfeiting any chip value you have already placed into the pot.

Reading your opponents is a vital skill for any good poker player. While new players tend to try and put their opponent on a specific hand more experienced players work out the range of hands that their opponent could have. This is a much more accurate way to evaluate an opponent’s hand strength.