The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager an amount of money (representing chips) on their chances of getting a winning hand. Players place these chips in the pot, called the pot, during betting intervals, which vary according to the rules of each poker variant.

The player to the left of the button makes the first bet and may call or raise. He also has the option of folding his cards if he does not have a good hand.

When two or more players have the same hand, they are ranked by their highest card. This is the case even if the hands have different suits.

A straight is a sequence of five consecutive cards of the same rank, such as Ace, Two, Three, Four and Five. This hand is ranked higher than a flush, which is a three of a kind with the same rank (e.g., three jacks).

It is important to understand the value of a good hand. A good rule of thumb is to always fold your weak hands and only call when you have a strong one.

It is also crucial to learn to read the other players at your table. This includes studying their tells (eye movements, idiosyncrasies, hand gestures, betting behavior etc). A player who frequently calls and then abruptly raises may be holding an amazing hand. This is your tell that he or she has a strong hand and you should bet aggressively!