The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game where players bet into a pot in the middle of the table to win. It is a game of chance that also involves skill and psychology. The amount of skill involved depends on the strategy and game theory you use to play the game.

During each betting round the player must first post an ante (the amount of money varies by game). This is a mandatory bet and helps create a level playing field. After the antes are posted, the dealer puts three cards face up on the board that anyone can use. This is called the flop. If the flop contains a pair of matching cards then you have a pair. If you have two pairs and the turn card is a heart then you have a full house. The highest ranked hand wins the pot.

The last card to be dealt is the river. Again everyone gets a chance to bet/check/raise/fold. The best five card poker hand wins the pot. If you have a high hand then the higher one beats the lower one (five kings beats five queens, for example). A high hand also beats a straight. If you have a low hand then the lowest card in your hand wins. You can also improve your hand by hitting a needed card on the turn and/or river. For instance, if you have two hearts in your hand and the turn card is a heart then that makes your flush.