The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game in which players wager chips (representing money) against each other. The object is to make the best 5 card hand using your own two cards and the five community cards dealt to the table. The highest ranking hand is the Royal Flush, which consists of four matching cards of the same rank and a fifth card of the same suit. The second highest hand is a straight, which contains five consecutive cards of the same suit.

There are many different forms of poker, with some games suitable for as few as 2 players and others that can be played with up to 14 or more. In all poker variants, the first player to act has the opportunity to place a bet, or “raise,” by increasing the amount that each other player must bet (the “pot”). Players who call a raise will add their own chips to the pot; those who fold will lose their own bets, and will not participate in the next betting round.

The ability to read other players and understand their behavior during a hand of poker is called “reading tells.” Tells are unconscious habits that reveal information about a player’s hand. These can include eye contact, facial expressions, posture, and gestures. A good poker player will be aware of the tells of other players and be able to adjust their own behavior accordingly.