The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game in which each player places chips (representing money) into the pot before betting. The highest hand wins the pot. Depending on the game, a player may also be able to exchange cards in his or her hand for new ones. The game is played in many ways, but there are some basic rules that must be followed to prevent cheating or other unsportsmanlike behavior.

Players buy in for a certain number of chips that represent money, called “buying in.” Typically a white chip is worth one unit, or the minimum ante. A red chip is worth five units, and a blue chip is worth twenty or fifty units. The dealer is usually the last to bet. He or she does the shuffling and passes the button to the player on his or her left after each hand.

A hand must consist of five cards to win the pot. The best possible hands include a straight, a flush, or a royal flush. A straight consists of cards in a row from ace to king. A full house is three matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, while a pair consists of two cards of the same rank and three other unmatched cards.

Developing quick instincts is essential to winning poker. Observe experienced players and try to imagine how they would react in your position. This will help you develop your own instincts faster.