The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It involves betting and the use of psychological tricks and probability to call or fold one’s hand. Good poker players use their skills to accurately predict the strength of opponents’ hands in order to make long-term profitable decisions.

There are many variants of poker, but all share some common characteristics. Each player starts with 2 cards and is forced to place a small amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. These are called “blinds” and help create an incentive to play.

Once the blinds have been placed, the dealer deals 1 more card face up on the table. Then a round of betting begins, with the player to the left of the dealer being first to bet.

The highest ranking poker hand is a royal flush, consisting of a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit. A straight is 5 consecutive cards of the same rank, but from different suits. 3 of a kind is three matching cards of the same rank, and pair is two cards of the same rank but not identical (such as 4 aces).

The object of poker is to win the “pot,” which is the sum total of all bets made by all players in any given deal. This is done either by having the best hand or by bluffing and forcing other players to call your bets.