The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of chance, but it also has a lot of skill and psychology. You can read books on it or practice with friends but there are some basic rules everyone should understand.

To start a game of poker you need a table and some cards. Then you need to buy chips. A white chip is worth the minimum ante or bet, red is worth five whites and blue is twenty whites. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. The rest of the players can fold or raise.

There are several types of hands in poker: A pair, two distinct pairs, three of a kind, straight, and flush. A flush is 5 cards of consecutive rank in the same suit, for example A-K-Q-J-T. A straight is 5 cards in order, but with one card skipped (like 4-5-6-7-8). Three of a kind is three cards of the same rank, and a pair is two cards of the same rank. High card breaks ties if no one has a pair or higher.

Betting in poker is done clockwise around the table. When you are in position to act you have more information than your opponents and can make better bluffs. Reading other players is a big part of the game and there are many subtle physical tells that you can pick up on. You can also use patterns to figure out whether other players are conservative or aggressive.