The Basics of Poker
Poker is a card game in which players place chips (representing money) into a pot at the table. The object of poker is to execute the most profitable actions (bet, raise, fold) based on the information at hand, with the goal of winning more money than one’s opponents.
A poker hand consists of five cards. Each poker hand belongs to one of a number of categories, and any hand in a higher category beats any hand in a lower category. When hands tie on rank (pair, three of a kind, etc) the highest card breaks ties.
If you have a pair and a high card in your hand, it is the best poker hand you can have. It is important not to give away the strength of your hand by how you play it. For example, don’t use a strong gesture such as a big smile or a fist pump, as this gives away the strength of your hand.
The first player to act places an amount of money into the pot, called an ante. This player has the privilege or obligation of making the first bet in each betting interval, depending on the rules of the poker variant being played. After each bet, players can call, raise, or fold. If you say “call,” you will bet the same amount as the person to your right. This is done to force weaker hands out of the game and increase the value of your poker hand.