The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance, but it’s also a game with a deep element of strategy. While there is an element of luck, the long-run expectations of players are based on strategic decisions made on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.

When playing poker, players put money into a pot called the “pot.” They can raise, call or fold their hand when it’s their turn. If they have a strong hand, such as a full house or straight, they may choose to raise their bet and try to win the pot.

If a player wants to raise their bet, they must say “I raise” before making their bet. Then the other players can decide whether to call or fold. If someone calls, they must place their chips in the pot equal to the amount of the previous raise.

Once the first round of betting has ended, the flop is dealt. This reveals three cards and begins the second round of betting.

The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. The best hands are: ace, king, queen, jack and ten (a royal flush); four of a kind; straight; and three of a kind. A pair is two matching cards of the same rank, and a high card beats any other hand. If no one has a strong hand, the dealer wins the pot.