The Basics of Poker


Poker is a game of cards where the twin elements of luck and skill combine to determine who wins the pot. The goal of each player is to use the five cards they are dealt to make a poker hand and convince other players that they have a strong poker hand. This can be done by showing a confident stance, making eye contact and speaking to the table in a manner that conveys confidence. It is also important to know when to walk away from a hand that appears beaten. This can save a player money and prevent him from making mistakes that could lead to future losses.

To begin a hand the dealer deals everyone three cards face up. This is called the flop. The players then decide whether to stay in the hand or to fold (sliding their cards away face-down). In each betting round a player can choose to open (bet) a fixed amount, call an existing bet, raise a bet or just check. If a player raises a bet that someone else made in a previous betting round this is known as a re-raise.

There are many different types of poker hands but the basic concept is the same. A poker hand has to contain 5 cards of consecutive rank (a straight), four of a kind (3 matching cards of the same rank) or three of a kind (2 identical cards) or two pair (two cards of the same rank plus two unmatched cards). A flush contains any five cards of the same suit and a full house is comprised of 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another rank.