How to Win at Poker

Poker is a gambling game in which players wager money, called chips, on the outcome of a hand. Each player starts the game by placing an ante (amount varies by game) into the pot in the center before being dealt cards. Players may choose to raise, call or fold their bets after each round of betting. The highest hand wins the pot.

The first step toward winning at poker is understanding basic hand rankings and the rules of the game. It is also important to understand the impact of position on your play. Aggressive players often win the most money, but overplaying can cost you if you are not careful.

A standard poker deck contains 52 cards, ranked from high to low: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 2. There are four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs), and the highest card in each suit wins. Some games use wild cards, which can take on any rank or suit the possessor wishes.

Players bet in a clockwise order, and the player to the left of the button (a marker used to indicate the dealer) is known as the “button.” The button moves one spot clockwise after each hand. The first player to act after the button has a choice of raising or calling, or folding. It is important to play in position, as you can control the size of the pot more effectively.