How to Play Poker


Poker is a card game in which players try to make the best hand out of five cards. A five-card hand is called a straight, flush, or full house and consists of any combination of three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank.

In most games a player is required to ante an amount of money before the cards are dealt, and this ante is usually placed into a central pot. A blind bet or a bring-in bet is sometimes also required, and the dealer shuffles, cuts, and deals the cards to the players, beginning with the player on the left of the dealer.

After the initial deal, betting rounds begin, typically in clockwise order. Betting is continued until everyone has folded, or there is a showdown.

The winner is the player with the highest hand after the flop, turn, and river. A straight or flush is the highest hand, followed by a pair of aces or higher.

Raise to gain information

The best poker players are highly sensitive to the tells of their opponents. These tells may include anything from repetitive actions (touching the face, twitching the eyebrows, or darting the eyes) to a change in the timbre of the voice.

Control your stack

The best poker players control their stacks by judging their opponents’ play and adjusting accordingly. This can help you eke out value when you have decent hands and force weaker players into folding or re-raising you.