The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into the pot prior to dealing their cards. The player who contributes the most to the pot, or has the highest hand, wins. In some variants, each player must make a contribution to the pot in order to remain active, known as an ante. A player who contributes a bet that exactly matches the last bet made is said to call, while a player who increases the amount of his or her bet by at least one unit is said to raise.

In addition to these basic rules, there are a number of other nuances that are used by experienced players. For example, a player who checks to stay out of the betting round is considered “passive,” while a player who raises a bet is said to be “aggressive.” Another important skill is the ability to read tells, or unconscious habits that a player’s body language, facial expressions and other cues reveal about his or her hand strength.

A poker hand is determined by the rank of its cards, with higher ranks yielding better hands. The most valuable hands include three of a kind, straight, and flush. A full house is comprised of three matching cards of one rank, while a pair includes two cards of the same rank. A flush consists of five consecutive cards of the same suit, and a straight is 5 cards of consecutive rank but from more than one suit.