The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players wager money. There are many different forms of poker, but all involve betting and a central pot. The object of the game is to have the highest-ranking hand at the end of one or more betting rounds. High-ranking hands include the Royal Flush (A, K, Q, J, and 10 of the same suit); Straight Flush (five cards in a sequence, all of the same suit); Four of a Kind (four cards of the same number or picture); and Three of a Kind and a Pair (three cards of the same number or picture, plus two matching pairs). Ties are broken by the highest unmatched cards or secondary pairs (in a full house, for example).

It is possible to play poker with no skill at all, but betting changes the dynamics of the game and makes it much more fun. Good poker strategy requires a strong understanding of probability and game theory. It is also important to learn how to read your opponents. This involves paying attention to subtle physical poker tells, such as whether a player is scratching their nose or playing nervously with their chips.

When it is your turn to act, say “call” or “I call” to make a bet equal to the last bet. You can also choose to raise your bet. If you call or raise, the other players must either match your bet or fold their cards.