The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players bet against each other. The game has many variations. Players can win by betting that they have a winning hand while other players either call (match) the bet or fold. Players may also bluff by pretending to have a strong hand when they don’t. Regardless of the type of poker being played, the rules are similar.

The game begins with one or more players making forced bets, called blind bets, into the pot before the cards are dealt. The dealer then shuffles the cards and deals them to each player, starting with the person to their left. Once the players have their two hole cards they begin a round of betting that includes raising and calling. The raised bets are added to the existing bet in the center of the table.

After the first betting round is over the dealer puts three additional cards face up on the table that anyone can use. This is called the flop. A second round of betting is then completed. The best five card poker hand wins the pot.

When playing poker it is important to know the different types of poker hands and what they rank. A royal flush is the highest poker hand, consisting of five consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight is 5 cards of consecutive rank, but from more than one suit. A full house is 3 cards of the same rank, and 2 matching cards of another rank. A pair is 2 cards of the same rank, and 1 unmatched card.