The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players place bets to try and win a pot. The best hand wins the pot, which is all of the chips bet in a particular round. The winning hand can be any five cards. The first player to reveal their hand starts a betting phase.

During each betting interval, players must either “call” that bet (put in the same number of chips as the preceding player) or “raise.” Then they must choose to “drop,” meaning they put no chips into the pot and discard their cards. A player can raise by a certain amount, but they cannot go over that amount.

Some games have blind bets, which happen before the players are dealt their cards. These bets can replace or in addition to the ante. The players take turns clockwise around the table putting in their bets.

The highest poker hand is a royal flush, which contains four matching cards of the same rank and all five cards are in the same suit. If more than one player has a high card, the higher-ranking hand wins. Other high hands include straights and three of a kind. Ties are broken according to the rules for High Card.

An important part of poker is reading your opponents’ tells, the unconscious habits and signals they give off that reveal their secret intentions. These can be as simple as a change in posture or as complex as a gesture.