The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money (representing chips, for which the game is almost always played) on the outcome of a hand. A player may also place in the pot additional chips that exceed the amount of the previous bet, known as raising. Generally, each player must make some contribution to the pot before his turn, in a quantity determined by the rules of the variant being played.

Before a hand begins, each player must make a contribution to the pot, known as an ante. Then the dealer shuffles the cards and deals them one at a time, starting with the player to his right. Each player has the option to call, raise, or check, depending on the rules of the particular variant being played.

A poker hand is made up of five cards. The higher the rank of a hand, the more likely it is to win. The highest hand is a royal flush, consisting of a 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of the same suit. A straight is five consecutive cards of the same suit, while a full house is three matching cards of the same rank and two unmatched cards.

Position is a fundamental that can help you win more money than your opponents. It’s important to be in position when it’s your turn to act because you have more information about the other players’ hands than they do. This gives you more “bluff equity.” It’s okay to sit out a hand if you need to use the bathroom, refresh your drink, or take a phone call, but try not to miss too many hands.