The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game of chance, but it also involves bluffing and reading other players. It is played with a standard deck of 52 cards and there are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs). Some games also include wild cards or jokers. The highest five-card hand wins.

The rules of poker vary from one table to another, but there are some basic principles that apply to all games. To begin a hand the players must “ante” an amount of money into the pot (amount varies by game, our games require a nickel). After each player has anted they are dealt two cards each. Once the betting begins each player must either call the bet by putting their chips into the middle, raise the bet by adding more than their opponent or fold their cards and exit the hand.

After the first round of betting is complete the dealer deals three more cards face up on the board that any player can use. These are known as the flop. Then the second round of betting begins. After the second round of betting is completed the dealer deals a fourth card that everyone can use, this is called the turn.

If a player has a good hand on the flop they will usually raise. The reason for this is that they know if they don’t raise they will likely lose to a better hand on the flop and if they call they may be forced to increase their bet by a higher percentage of the pot.

A flush consists of 5 matching cards of the same rank. A straight consists of 5 cards that skip around in rank but are from the same suit. A three of a kind consists of 3 matching cards of the same rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A pair consists of 2 matching cards of the same rank.

The high card is used to break ties. A high card is any card that is higher than the other player’s highest card. If the players tie for a high hand, they look at the other high hands in order to determine the winner. This can be a very tricky situation for the player who is holding a good hand, such as pocket kings, and then aces show on the flop. This can change the whole equation of the hand and they should be cautious. The ace could make it difficult to improve their hand and they may have to fold it on the river. If they fold it is over for them and they will lose the money in the pot.