The Basics of Poker

The game of poker is a card-based gambling game played between players over a series of rounds. The player with the highest hand wins the pot. The rules of the game vary between poker variants, but all games involve betting and making a five-card hand.

When you are dealt cards, you must ante (amount varies by game but is typically a small amount like a nickel). Then players bet into the middle of the table, or pot, and the highest hand wins the pot of chips.

You can say “call” to place the same amount as another player who has already bet, or you can say “raise” to raise the previous player’s bet by a certain amount. Then the other players must either call your raise or fold their cards.

If you have strong cards, you can put pressure on your opponents by raising and calling more often than they expect. This is called “reading” other players, and it’s the basis for many strategies in poker.

You can also win the pot with a straight or flush, which consist of five consecutive cards of the same rank. A full house has 3 matching cards of one rank and 2 matching cards of another, while a pair is two identical cards of any rank. And a flush is any five cards of the same suit, but not necessarily in order or in sequence. These types of hands tend to be higher in value, but you can also win with other lower-valued hands as well.