The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game that involves betting with chips. The game is played by 2 or more players and each player places the amount of a forced bet called an ante or blind bet into a central pot before cards are dealt. Then one or more rounds of betting commence, with each player being allowed to make changes to their hands during the betting intervals.

When you have a strong poker hand, you can choose to call or raise. If you say “call” you agree to match the previous player’s raise and stay in the hand. If you want to increase the size of the bet, then you must make a Raise. If you don’t wish to participate in a hand, then you can Fold and forfeit the round.

A basic poker hand consists of two matching cards of the same rank and three unmatched side cards. A full house contains 3 cards of the same rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A flush is 5 cards of consecutive rank from one suit. A pair is two cards of the same rank, and the highest card wins the hand.

A big mistake that many beginners make is not being aggressive enough with their draws. If you have a flush or straight draw, then you should be raising your opponent’s bets so that they will be forced to fold by the river. Another important factor is the table conditions (for example if there are lots of spades on the board then this can spell trouble for pocket kings or queens). Finally, you must consider your opponents’ stack sizes and bet sizing.