The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of skill, strategy and attrition in which players attempt to form the best possible 5-card hand using their own hole cards and the community cards on the table. The highest-ranking hand wins the pot. Typical hands include Royal Flush (10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace of the same suit), Straight Flush, Full House, Three of a Kind, Two Pair and One Pair.

The game is played with chips that each player must purchase in order to play. Each chip has a specific value — for example, a white chip is worth the minimum ante, and red chips are worth five whites. Before the first card is dealt, each player must place a mandatory bet into the pot called the “blinds.”

After the initial betting round is complete the dealer deals 3 cards face up on the board which are community cards that anyone can use to make their best poker hand. A third betting round is then conducted, called the “flop.” After the flop is revealed a fourth card is added to the board, again triggering another round of betting.

The more information you have about your opponents’ actions before it is your turn to act, the better. This is known as position, and it allows you to maximize your bluffing opportunities. For instance, if you have trip fives (three matching cards of the same rank) on the flop and they don’t, then everyone will expect that you are bluffing and your hand is weak.