The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game played between two or more players. It is a game of skill, strategy and mental toughness. The aim is to form the highest value hand possible from a combination of your own two hidden cards (hole cards) and the five community cards on the table. The highest ranking hands are the Royal Flush (10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of one suit), Straight Flush (9, 8, 7, 6, 5 of the same suits) and Three of a Kind (4 matching cards). If your hand has a higher rank than another hand it wins. If your hand has the same rank as the other hand, it is a tie and you share the prize money, if there is any.

Each player places a mandatory bet called a blind into the pot before any other players are dealt any cards. The player to the left of the dealer has a small blind, and the player two positions to his/her left has a big blind. After the first betting round is complete, the dealer deals a third card face up on the table which everyone can use. This is called the flop.

Each player then chooses to Call, Raise or Fold their cards. Observing other experienced players and practicing your own gameplay is crucial for developing quick instincts in the game. Try to join a friendly poker game once you feel comfortable with the rules and basic strategy.