The Basics of Poker


The game of poker is played with one or more decks of cards and takes place on a table with other players. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. There are a variety of poker hands, the most common being a full house (three matching cards of the same rank plus two matching cards of another rank) and a straight flush (5 consecutive cards of the same suit—clubs, hearts, diamonds, or spades).

After all the betting is over, the dealer deals three more cards face up on the table, which anyone can use for their hand. These are called the flop. Then the dealer puts a fourth card on the table that everyone can use—this is the turn. Once the final betting round is over, whoever has the best hand wins the pot. If a hand has no value, the other players can choose to fold.

When it’s your turn, you can either “call” the amount of money put into the pot by the player before you or raise it. You can also “drop” your cards and stop playing that hand if you don’t want to call the bet.

It’s a good idea to start at low limits, especially when you’re new to the game. That way, you can practice your strategy without spending too much money. As you gain experience, you can move up to higher stakes. This helps you play versus better opponents and learn more about the game.