The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet that they have the best hand, and other players either call (match) the bet or fold. Players can also bluff, attempting to win by betting that they have a better hand than they actually have.

The value of a poker hand is in inverse proportion to its mathematical frequency, so hands that occur more frequently have a lower value. A poker hand consists of five cards. The highest ranking hand is the royal flush, which consists of all five cards of the same suit in sequence. A full house consists of three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, while a straight consists of 5 consecutive cards of the same rank in more than one suit.

A player with the best poker hand wins the pot, which consists of all bets made by players in the current hand. The dealer, or person to his left, has the privilege or obligation to make the first bet in each betting interval, and each player must place chips or cash into the pot equal to at least the total contribution of the player to the previous round.

In the first betting round, called the flop, the dealer puts three cards face up on the table that anyone can use. This is a good time to check your position because you now have information that you didn’t have before. For example, if you hold pocket kings and the flop comes A-8-5 you’re probably going to be in trouble because most people are expecting trip fives or even a full house.