The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played by two or more players. It’s a game of chance and skill where the aim is to win the pot, or all the money put up as buy-in at the table. During the betting phases, players can check (pass on betting), call (put in the amount of the previous player’s raise) or raise again (add more chips to the pot).

A hand is ranked according to its value: the highest ranked is a Royal Flush (5 cards of the same suit, ranked ace through ten), followed by a Straight Flush (5 cards of consecutive rank but from different suits) and then a Full House (3 matching cards of one rank plus 2 matching cards of another rank). Other hands include a Straight (five cards of consecutive ranks but not the same suit) and a Pair (two matching cards of one rank, with another unmatched card).

The player that has the best poker hand at the end of a hand wins the pot, or all the money that has been raised during the round. Sometimes there’s a tie between the highest ranked poker hands, in which case the pot is shared between the players with those hands.

If you have a weak poker hand, try to bluff when it’s your turn to act. This can force players with stronger hands to fold and increase the value of your own. Position is also important; playing last allows you to use the information on the board to your advantage, for example an ace on the flop can spell disaster for pocket kings.