The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players bet against each other to win a pot. It is played in many different variants, but the most common is Texas hold’em. The rules of poker are relatively straightforward, but the game requires a high degree of concentration and strategic thinking to play well.

To start a hand the dealer deals 2 cards to each player. The player to their left must put in a small bet, called the small blind, and the player to their right must put in a larger bet, called the big blind. Everyone then looks at their cards and decides whether to stay in the hand or fold. The person with the highest hand wins the pot.

The cards are dealt clockwise around the table and each player acts in turn, betting on the strength of their hand. If you think your hand is good then you can raise, putting more money into the pot. If you think your hand is bad then you can fold, turning your cards face down to keep other players from seeing them.

A good poker hand is made up of a pair, three of a kind, four of a kind, straight, or flush. Full houses and straights are easy to identify because they contain the same cards in the same rank. Flushes are a series of five cards that skip around in rank or sequence but are all from the same suit.