The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. The object of the game is to have a higher-ranked hand than the other players. Each player must either call (match) the amount of money placed in the pot by the person before him, or he may choose to bluff and win if the players with superior hands do not call his bet. Players may also raise or lower their own bets.

The game can be played with a deck of cards or a set of chips. A poker chip is worth a certain value and a color, and each player must have at least one of these chips in order to participate in a hand. Almost all forms of poker require that the players place their bets in a “pot,” which is the sum total of all bets made in any given betting interval. The highest-ranked poker hand wins the pot.

Each player has two personal cards and five community cards. The highest-ranked poker hand is a straight, which contains five cards in consecutive rank, all from the same suit. A flush is composed of three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, while a pair is two cards of the same rank.

Position is key in poker, and it’s important to understand how to act from various positions at the table. It’s often best to fold if you have weak hands, such as pocket kings or queens, especially on the flop.