How to Read Tells in Poker

Poker is a card game played by 2 or more players. The game is based on luck, but also requires quick instincts and the ability to read tells—unconscious habits that reveal information about a player’s cards. Reading tells can give you a significant advantage over the competition, and it’s a crucial skill for any serious poker player.

To start a hand, each player must ante something (the amount varies by game). Then they are dealt two cards face-down and five community cards are revealed. After that there’s a round of betting. During this round players can raise their bets or fold their hands. The highest hand wins the pot.

The rules of poker vary slightly from one game to the next, but most games use a standard 52-card pack. The cards are ranked (from high to low) as Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. There are four suits—spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs—but no suit is higher than any other. Some games add wild cards or other special cards to the mix.

The most common poker hands are pair, three of a kind and straight. A pair is two matching cards of the same rank. Three of a kind is 3 cards of the same rank, and a straight is 5 consecutive cards of different ranks but from the same suit. When hands tie on their rank, the one with the higher card wins. If the hand is all high cards, it’s a flush.