The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players bet money or chips (representing money) to win a pot, or share of the prize pool. It is a game of strategy and probability in which players use information about the hidden cards of their opponents to determine whether to call or raise their own bets. Good poker players have a system for predicting opponent hands accurately, allowing them to make long-term profitable decisions.

Each player must place an initial amount of money into the pot before the cards are dealt. This is called the ante. A round of betting then follows, with the player to the left of the dealer making the first bet. If a player does not wish to make a bet, they must fold their cards. If they have a strong hand, they may want to bet in order to force weaker hands out of the pot.

After the ante and blinds are placed, each player receives two hole cards. A round of betting then begins, with the player to the left of the first player raising their bet. If a player wishes to raise their own bet, they must say “call” or “I call” in order to match the previous raiser’s bet.

A full house consists of 3 matching cards of one rank, plus 2 matching cards of another rank. A flush consists of 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight consists of 5 cards of consecutive ranks, but different suits. A high card is any card which breaks ties.