The Basics of Poker

There are many different poker games but the fundamental aim is to win pots (money or chips) through betting in rounds. There are rules for how hands rank, and players must always follow these rules or risk being disqualified from the game.

Once everyone has their 2 cards, a round of betting begins. First, the player to their left puts in a mandatory bet called a blind. Then it is your turn to call, raise or fold. If you say “call” it means you are calling the last bet made by the person before you, so you put your own bet into the pot of the same amount as the player before you.

Saying “raise” adds more money to the pot, so the person before you must match your new bet or fold their hand. This is a great way to get other players to fold if you think they have a weak hand.

It is important to mix up your style of play and try not to make it too obvious what you have. If your opponents know exactly what you have, it will be very difficult to get paid off on a big bluff or beat them with a strong hand.

The next step is to see what your cards are and how they compare to the other hands in the table. Remember that a full house contains 3 matching cards of one rank and two matching cards of another rank, a straight contains 5 consecutive cards of the same suit, and three of a kind is any three of the same card, plus one unmatched card.