The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game that has quite a bit of skill when betting is involved. The basics of the game are that you ante something (usually a nickel) to get dealt cards and then place bets into a pot in the middle. The highest hand wins the pot. You can raise or fold based on the strength of your hands and the strength of other players’ hands.

The highest hand is a Royal Straight Flush, which includes a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit. A Straight Flush is a very strong hand, and you should bet aggressively when you have it.

When the first round of betting is over the dealer deals three cards face up on the board, called the flop. These are community cards that everyone can use. The second round of betting begins and players can raise or fold based on their best five card poker hand.

Observe how your opponents react to the flop and pay attention to their body language. Look for a player to glance around the table at the other players, especially at their chip stacks, which will give you clues about how strong their hand is. Also watch how they handle their chips, a fumbling motion usually means a weak hand while a firm grip usually indicates a good one. Timing is also a tell; if they take a long time to call you’ll know they have a weak hand while a fast call usually means a strong one.