How to Play Poker


Poker is a card game in which players bet to win a pot — all the chips that have been raised during a hand. A player may win a hand by showing the highest-ranked set of cards or by convincing other players that their hand is the best. Depending on the rules of a particular poker game, an initial amount of money is placed in the pot before the cards are dealt (called an ante or blind). Other forced bets include raises and bring-ins.

When it is your turn to act, you must decide whether to fold, call or raise. When you “call” a bet, you match the highest bet made on your turn. If you have a strong poker hand, it is better to call than to raise because you will force weaker hands out of the pot and increase your own hand’s value.

The dealer changes to the left for each hand. The person to the right of the dealer cuts the deck after each shuffle. Ideally, you want to do this several times to ensure that the cards are reshuffled.

The cards are arranged into poker hands of five, three or four cards each. A full house is a combination of 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank. A flush is any five consecutive cards of the same suit. A straight is 5 cards of consecutive rank but different suits.