The Basics of Poker


Poker is a card game played by a number of players in a series of betting rounds. Each round starts with the dealer shuffles the deck and deals cards face up, one at a time, to each player.

Players make forced bets, usually an ante wager and pair plus wager (sometimes both), and place their bets in the center of the table. When a hand is completed, all bets are gathered into the pot.

The player with the highest standard poker hand wins. The rank of standard poker hands is determined by their odds, a measure of the probability that any hand will beat another hand of similar strength.

A high card is the single card with the highest value in a player’s hand, such as an ace or a nine. A pair is two cards of the same value, such as an ace and a five.

Straight is a set of five cards in sequence, any suit. The highest straight that begins with a high card wins.

Flush is any five cards in sequence, but not all of the same suit. A flush with a heart on the flop, turn, and river is called a backdoor flush.

Three of a kind is a set of three cards with the same value, such as an ace, a king, and a deuce. A full house is a hand consisting of three of a kind and a pair.

Poker is a game of skill, and it is important to be able to read your opponents and respond appropriately. Successful players are not distracted by their own emotions, and focus on the psychology of their opponents.