The Basics of Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting and raising and lowering the value of your hand. The goal is to have the highest ranked hand when the cards are revealed at the end of the hand. It is a game that requires strategic thinking and good bluffing skills.

Each player starts the hand with a fixed amount of chips. These are called the “pot.” Usually, there are white chips, which are worth one unit; red chips, which are worth five whites; and blue chips that are worth either 10 or 25 whites. Each time someone puts a bet into the pot, the players must either call that bet by placing the same amount of chips in the pot or raise the bet by adding more chips to the pot.

When the dealer puts the third community card on the board, it’s called the “turn.” At this point everyone gets another chance to check/raise/fold their hand. If anyone has a high enough hand they will win the pot.

The fifth and final community card is revealed at the end of the hand and is called the river. This is the last opportunity for the players to bet/check/raise/fold their hand. If nobody has a high enough hand then the dealer wins the pot.

Many beginners make the mistake of believing that they need to play every hand they are dealt with. In reality, it is better to only play the strongest hands and be patient with your other hands. Remember that even a pair of pocket kings on the flop can lose to an ace if there are plenty of flush or straight cards on the board.